Happy New Year! It’s the annual announcement of a fresh start. But as we say hello to 2018, previous years may still have a few things to say. Hence, the New Year offers a new timeframe to tackle the unresolved. It’s the opportunity to make this year the year.
Our human nature is wired to want (and need) a redo. Thankfully, it’s in God’s nature to give us new mercies.
And that’s the beauty of any new day. We can unwrap His gift of again — no matter what life looks like.
We can try again.
What will you do with your gift? The New Year offers us goals in the gateway of January while the results wait at December’s door.
Our phrasing and approaches may vary. Some may make resolutions. Others recommit to previous goals or hunger for renewal. Some may even feel bored or embittered by the annual ritual.
But by God’s grace, at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, every beating heart got a redo.
And if this is “the year” to seize more God-moments and see fewer of my missteps, I must be honest about my biggest hindrance — distractions.
Have you said so long to sidetracked? Perhaps your hindrance is something else. Comparison, fear and doubt are popular culprits too. But the obstacle course I navigate contains lures along the sidelines.
Sometimes they’re subtle, as in “After this one, I’ll watch one more episode of…”
They dazzle me with delights like, “Does that mean everything is on sale?”
Unfortunately, some lures are consuming; especially when the distraction offers an escape from an uncomfortable essential — like an uneasy task or an unaccepted truth. But regardless of how side-tracks show up, they lead to procrastination again. Failure again. Discouragement again.
Distractions perfect the skill of demanding our attention while they ignore the will of God, until we discover the most purposeful path — godly focus.
Self-focus makes it hard to see past my emotions. Focusing on pleasing people blinds me to manipulation. And keeping my eyes on my problems, leaves me in a fog of uncertainty.
But keeping distractions in check doesn’t deny or distort reality. Instead, it allows me to see what’s really important from God’s point of view.
When life comes at us fast or what we want comes slowly (or not at all), it’s easy to get off track.
But we don’t have to stay there.
As I focus on the Lord, I see a bigger picture. I see other people’s pain. I see His grace in my daily grind and His care for my concerns go beyond what I can ask, think or imagine.
And as I see His sovereignty and love, I can say so long to sidetracked one distraction at a time.
Ultimately, God’s word is my pathfinder.
I invite you to join me and we can walk towards the door of December together. When you sign-up to follow this blog, you’ll receive my new bible study tool: Say So Long to Sidetracked. (Sign-up in the “Let’s Stay Connected” box in the sidebar or below.)
You can use it for personal study or as a 30-minute lesson for your small group. It’s designed to help us identify what causes our delays and equip us to rise above our challenges.
I pray you’ll rise to a happy new year. Whether you’re making a resolution, recommitting to a goal or seeking God for renewal, may you encounter Him in ways that bring hope for your heart and joy to your soul.
"...let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work]." - Hebrews 12:1-2 AMP