If you are keeping score, New Year’s is the vortex of time; the place where the past, present, and future come swirling together, congregating conveniently for simpler calibration. The last and first days of a year provide the ideal point of reference for measuring progress financially, physically and spiritually, and whether or not recalibration may be needed.
From a financial standpoint did I make more or less, save more or less, or spend more or less? Am I doing more to be healthy? Am I exercising on a regular basis? Did I weigh more or less, eat more or less, or exercise more or less? How did I do on my spiritual journey? Did I give more of my time and money? Did I spend time alone with God? Did I study the Word everyday? Finally, did my financial, physical, and spiritual overlap or stand in conflict with one another?
As a child it seems as if time is dragging along with a ball and chain. I just couldn’t wait to be an adult and pick and choose the things I wanted to do. As an adult, time is flying downhill, and picking up speed with every new endeavor. My choices now must be measured against schedules chocked full of family responsibilities, work projects, church work, and volunteering in the community. If the schedule is not calibrated just right, it can feel as if the whole world is standing on your chest, with friendly advisers telling you to relax and take it easy.
The past year has provided many wonderful opportunities to listen and learn. I have partnered with several new people and organizations to continue the development of the Shaped by Faith ministry. I attended several fundraising banquets and listened to some wonderful testimonies. I joined Volunteer Owensboro, and now serve on the Mentor Kids Board, and both are very beneficial to our community. Finally, I have attended the funerals, and visitations, of many fine people, each leaving a legacy of humble consistent service to God.
The year was filled with several speaking engagements, including a teaching on Joshua crossing over into the Promised Land, and at another conference, How to overcome fear?
These speaking events allowed me to design several new Shaped by Faith shirts, which I truly enjoyed. All three of my fitness DVDs, along with my Book, were recognized and awarded the Dove Seal of approval. One of my favorite radio interviews was with Fatu Litsey, an amazing young lady with an incredible story of God’s grace and power. And believe it or not, it has been 30 years since my first open heart surgery, and I turned 54 this year.
Into each person’s life some rain must fall. While I considered them showers, my husband probably thought they were a little more severe. For instance, the light fixtures in our kitchen, when one of the lights shorted out and was found “not repairable,” he was quite a bit more upset than I was. Naturally we had to replace all the lights in that section of the house so they would match. Then, of course, the dishwasher finally gave up its last bit of soap. Even though I picked the new one, I kind of liked the older model better.
Living in the country is one of the best things in my life. Living in the country does have its share of challenges, including, speed of internet service. It was as if God wanted me to plant a garden, and then watch patience and grace grow in my home office. The internet service was terrible! The first step was replacing my desktop computer, a device overused, tired, and ready to be put out to pasture. Our U-verse had an adverse reaction to the new desktop and subsequently refused to play nice. We purchased a mobile hot spot, which helped a trace amount, but did little to improve my work production. It is now believed there is a problem with the line. No kidding! By the way, the grace garden is about waist high.
So, you have heard the good and not so good. How will all these past events and experiences help me prepare for 2018? Well, I like my new connections and partnerships, so I will continue to develop the relationships this year. I will continue to teach fitness classes, developing new friendships, growing old friendships, and reaching out to others through mentorship. Part of that process will include a Bible Study in 2018. I will continue to work on loving others, most especially the supposedly unlovable. I will spend less time being impatient and demanding in matters of technology, while spending more time with my grandchildren.
Most of all, I will spend more time with God, seeking His will and asking Him to search my heart more and more each day. I will spend more time in my secret place alone, in prayer, with God. I want to dream God’s dreams for my life. I want to be more loving, forgiving, patient, kind, generous, faithful, trustworthy, humble, and in alignment with His heart and plans for this New Year.
My hope is that by telling about some of my experiences, you will be encouraged to review some of your adventures. The New Year presents a wonderful time for resetting our life. Recalibration can be as simple as realizing there are too many things on the schedule, and as complicated as being lost with no known purpose in your life. But if you do not search your life, and ask God to search your heart, you may miss out on the reason and plan God has for you. In my life the key verse for 2017 was Joshua 1:9, “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” What will be your key verse for 2018?
Be bold, and courageous, and ask yourself the tough questions about your life. I will be praying this is your best New Year ever! I pray you grow closer to God than you have ever been, and I pray your family and relationships are restored and renewed. Happy New Year and may God bless each of you abundantly!