We have said good bye to last year and ushered in the New Year. So what will I do with this year? What reflections do I start off the New Year with?
Two scriptures come to mind. The first one is found in Philippians 3:13-14, “No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.” (NLT) The old year has passed away. There were mistakes, things I didn’t get accomplished, and things I am grateful for.
For some years in my past I spent the first part of January reliving the previous year. I always regretted what I didn’t do, those people I had hurt, and those things I wish I could have a do over for. Then, God gave me this scripture. I believe in reflecting on the past year, but not on focusing on the past year. There is a difference. I can reflect on the mistakes I made, I can think about those things I didn’t get accomplished, and those things I’d like a do over for, but I can’t remain focused on those things. The year is gone, I can’t take anything back, I can’t redo anything, all I can do is learn from the past and move on. Just as the scriptures suggest I need to focus my energies on forgetting the past and moving on to what God has for me this year.
I know I am not all I should be so instead of being upset because I’m not where I want to be I reflect on those things that did not help me get where I wanted to be and learn from them and move on. There are some things that kept me from growing closer in Christ last year, so I take those things throw them out with the old year and start fresh.
The other thing that I used to do was not look forward to the New Year. For several years in a row we experienced a lot of unhappiness and events that no one would look forward to, so my thought was I didn’t want to see what this year would bring; I knew it would only bring more stress and strife into my life. Then as I drew closer to God my outlook changed. Along came this scripture and I began to put the past behind and look forward to what God had planned for us. Even if things did happen that I didn’t like at least I had God to walk with me through them. I began to take the attitude that if God brought me to it He’d bring me through it. Now, each New Year I anticipate the New Year and actually get excited to see what lies ahead. God has been doing some exciting things in my life and I don’t think He is through just yet.
We all know to reach the prize at the end of the race we have to finish the race. Not only do we need to finish the race, but to win a prize we need to be successful. That’s the same way it is with the race of life. If I want to win the big prize at the end of my life then I need to finish the race and do it as successfully as God and I can. I can’t take a detour or I might not make it, I can’t lose my way, or allow others to steer me off course. I must stay on the path that God has chosen for me.
These are some things to think about as the New Year starts. Are you one who is reliving last year and can’t seem to move on? Do you spend all your energies on thinking about last year and what went wrong or who done you wrong?
If so I suggest you take this scripture found in Philippians 3:13-14, “No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven” (NLT) print it out and put it where you can see it every day. Then spend a few minutes looking forward to the New Year. Ask God to help you anticipate the things He has in store for you and begin to put the past in the past and move forward. I think about the rear view mirror in a car. It helps us see where we have been, but it does not help us focus on where we are going.
I pray that we together can finish the race, put the past behind us and anticipate where God is taking us. I am always available if you need extra help. God has been a blessing to me; let Him be a blessing to you in this New Year.
Stay tuned for the second part of this and see what the second scripture is that helps me through the beginning of a New Year.
Dear God: I have wanted to hang on to last year so many times, but I know you are asking me to let it go. I know I need to reflect, but I must be careful not to focus too hard on those things that I might have missed out on, or messed up, or whatever. You have brought me a long way and I am excited to see how much farther you will take me this year and where we will go together. Thank you for all you do, all you are in my life and all the blessings you have given me. Now, Dear Lord, let’s march into this New Year together. Amen.