Every January has the same rhythm, it seems. We’ve made it through another year of Christmas gatherings, we’ve swept away the confetti from our New Year’s celebrations. The decorations have finally been stored away for another year, just in time for the grey days of winter to settle in around us.
Everyone has made their New Year’s resolutions, some of which have already been broken and forgotten. Our “to-do” lists have grown long with all of the tasks put off from the previous year. The champagne has barely lost its sparkle and yet we’re off to the races for another year.
Does it always have to be like this? Is this the life God has for us?
I have come to savor the first moments of the New Year. I have learned that even though the current, the rhythm of life wants to drag me along at its own pace, I am never forced to follow. I have become desperate for the moments when I pull myself away from the menacing drag of motion coercing me along its path, and find a quiet bank where I can rest for a while.
This is the time of year I need a pause. A moment. A respite to breathe and reflect on where I’ve come, to remember who I am, to reaffirm my passions and purpose, and to dream new dreams for the year ahead.
We all need a pause if we want to successfully launch into the New Year. There are four steps that can help us find the peace and abundance we long for in our lives.
- We need to reflect – How can we know where we are going if we don’t know where we’ve been? It has been said that those who don’t know their history are destined to repeat it.
The best part of the journey for me has come in moments of reflection, to see where God has taken me over the course of the past year. I love to see places of growth, to celebrate small victories, to acknowledge the losses and learn from them, to take an internal inventory of how my time and energies lined up with my priorities so I can the assess the resulting fruits.
- We need to remember who we are – The most meaningful resolutions for our lives will come when they are not someone else’s resolutions, but when they are born out of and line up with our core identity. The reason so many resolutions fail is precisely this —we resolve to achieve what someone else thinks we should achieve.
It is only when we are grounded and anchored into who we are spiritually, emotionally and physically, that we will be able to set goals that are in line with our authentic self. Our identity is the place out of which everything else flows. Take the time to discover, or perhaps remember who you are. Every other decision you make will be easier as a result.
- We need to reaffirm our passions and our purpose – Our passions and purpose are natural extensions of our identity. Once we define who we are, we begin looking for ways to invest. God is always about teaching me new things, growing me in new ways. God is never static. Our journey is never finished. That would be boring.
I look for ways I can continue to grow and develop the passions and purpose God has already given me. I look for the investments that are yielding the greatest fruit and I focus my energies there. I look at the areas that are withering no matter how much of myself I pour into them and make adjustments accordingly. Sometimes, it means that I have to grieve the loss of a passion that hasn’t born the fruit I would have wanted. Sometimes I must let go so that I have more energy for the areas that God wants to flourish in my life.
- We need to dream new dreams for the year ahead – New dreams can only be built on a solid foundation. Most people like to dream. Yet dreaming without a foundation will lead to collapse. Dreaming without understanding your identity, your innate passions or God-given purpose is no more than childhood fantasy. Though it feels good, it is not connected to anything real. The foundation will ultimately crumble.
Dreaming, after we’ve secured our foundation with the previous steps, is delight. It is opening the space in our hearts for heaven to breathe down on us and create possibility. It imagines something out of nothing. Its hope is in the excitement of the journey ahead. It is solid and strong. It is built on truth. These dreams will bear much fruit.
Have you taken time to pause yet this year? Has the current of life dragged you along without a moment for reflection? Have you forgotten who you are in the hustle and bustle of daily life? Have you quit dreaming new dreams?
I encourage you to set aside a few minutes this week to reflect, remember, reaffirm and dream. Let’s make this year a year of abundance. Let’s discover more, learn more, dream more so that we can live more fully than we have ever lived before! This is the life God has for you!