We have come the end of another year my friend.
Was it a good one?
Did you accomplish all you set out to do?
Or, was it a year of the unexpected; an interruption to your regularly scheduled life?
No matter what happened (or didn’t), each day God gives us comes with a new opportunity to begin again. (Lamentations 3:22-23 NLT)
But sometimes, we carry too much with us from one day into the next so that we cannot see how to begin again.
So, since we stand surrounded by all those who have gone before, an enormous cloud of witnesses, let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace, and let us run with endurance the long race set before us. (Hebrews 12:1 the Voice)
I want more than anything for you to experience the freedom of a fresh start any time you need one. I want you to live lives filled with all the fruit of the Spirit, rooted deeply in an unshakable trust in the plan of God for your life so that nothing can steal the peace of God which will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT)
But, before that can happen I believe we need to remove whatever is hindering you from moving into this next year unfettered.
Here are 5 things to consider.
Do you need to let go? Are you harboring bitterness and resentment towards someone? Towards yourself? Towards God? We are called to forgive, (Matthew 6:14-15) and while that does not mean everything has to be like it once was, it does mean we need to let it go so our hearts have room to receive what God has in store for us next.
Are there truths you need to accept? Do you know who you are to God, really? Have you read through the book of Ephesians lately? In the first chapter of this letter Paul describes exactly who we are to God with terminology like: “equipped,” “chosen,” “holy and blameless,” “covered in grace,” and “secure.” Do you accept these labels or are there others you’re still holding on to?
Is there gratitude that needs to be expressed? Often, we hold on to the hardships and conveniently forget the blessings. Have you looked back upon this past year with the intention of noticing where God showed up? He is in every day, every moment, and no matter how hard life got He was there keeping you from being crushed, keeping you from despair, never abandoning you, and preventing your destruction. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NLT)
Is there hope you need to claim? Have too many disappointments covered you and turned down the flame of hope into a mere glowing ember in your heart? Fear is often the culprit here; fear of being disappointed again, of being hurt again, of messing up…again. The enemy would love nothing more than to snuff out your hope forever, but God. He wants to fan it into a burning flame of passion that ignites your soul and spreads like a wildfire. Open your heart; pain and disappointment are a part of living in a broken world, but God won’t let you down. Put your hope in Him. (Hebrews 6:17-19 NLT)
Is there cleaning out you need to do? What baggage of things are you carrying around? Is your mind (and schedule) cluttered with too much? Is your home filled to the brim with things that need your attention simply because they are there? Look around. What could be eliminated from your life to make space for what God may have in store for you? It can be practical (like cleaning out your closet and donating your unnecessary clothing) to overhauling your schedule so that you can say “yes” to that burning dream on your heart that you just haven’t “found” the time for. (And guess what? I can help you with that!)
No matter how our year is ending, I believe our next year can be more fulfilling than we ever dreamed possible. It starts with unfettering ourselves from whatever is hindering us from moving into this next year in confidence of God's power, provision and plan.
Now to the God who can do so many awe-inspiring things, immeasurable things, things greater than we ever could ask or imagine through the power at work in us, 21 to Him be all glory in the church and in Jesus the Anointed from this generation to the next, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-22 the Voice)
May you choose today to use the rest of 2016 to take the time to drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace...