Here we are at the beginning of a brand new year, filled with possibilities. This is a time of anticipation and hope for the future.
I recently read something that asked the thought-provoking question, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?”
If you are having difficulty coming up with an answer to this, it’s been too long!
What better time than now? I’m not talking about making New Year’s resolutions. Over the years I’ve made many of these; some have been successfully achieved and many others have not. All too often they are forgotten in a couple of months or even weeks.
It’s not another resolution I’m referring to here but the opportunity to follow your dreams, goals and passions. They may seem out of reach. Is it crazy to take steps towards something that you can’t be certain of?
I guess that depends if you can be content in your safe, predictable life or if you want more. I’ve discovered by forcing myself to stretch I can reach much more than I thought possible.
I needed to step out of my comfort zone and do something that required a leap of faith. This required suspending my limiting thoughts and believing in the possibilities.
A quote by Mark Batterson (author of The Circle Maker) helped me put this into perspective. “I learned that if you’re not willing to put yourself in ‘this is crazy’ situations, you’ll never experience ‘this is awesome’ moments.
So, call me crazy but I am determined to start this year not with resolutions, but with embracing first time experiences and the possibilities they hold. I hope you will do the same. It’s going to be awesome!
Anyone who has travelled to a Mexican tourist destination understands the persistence of people trying to convince them to attend a time share presentation.
On a recent vacation we faced this many times each day. When walking down the streets of the city it felt as though we were constantly being offered gifts in exchange for an hour of our time to attend a presentation. We knew from experience that the hours we’d have to spend and the pressure we’d face were not worth it for us.
I felt rude when we ignored the people and kept on walking. The few times we did stop to be polite the offers were sweetened when we declined. We were offered tickets, tours and cash. My husband would politely but firmly refuse all offers, saying he wasn’t willing to share his vacation time with them.
We talked about this later and said that the greatest time share is the one Jesus offers us. It doesn’t give us a week or two a year, but guarantees eternity with him. His offer never changes and no pressure is applied. I won’t be given more rewards if I hold out. There has never been a better offer than his and never will be. I am so grateful that because of my relationship with Jesus I will be sharing my time in eternity with him.
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. (John 14:1-3 NLT)
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1 John 5:11-12 NIV)
I was one of millions who watched the Toronto Blue Jays come from behind to win their division series last week. It was a game that will be talked about for years to come.
You don’t have to be a baseball fan to appreciate their accomplishment. Despite a play that delayed the game, was ruled against them and put the other team in the lead, the Blue Jays didn’t give up. During the second half of an historic seventh inning they fought back, took the lead and ended up winning the game and the series.
One player, when asked about the play that had the potential to defeat them, said that it created an opportunity for them to do something better. That was a statement that inspired me.
The potential these words hold is staggering. Instead of being discouraged and giving up when life throws me a curve ball, I could look at the situation as an opportunity to do something better.
Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble.” He also said to take heart because he has overcome the world. The troubles I face will not defeat me if I face them together with him. With his guidance they will provide me the opportunity to do something so much better than I could accomplish on my own.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)
Recently I purchased my first pair of cowboy boots. My husband and I had talked many times about getting some of these western boots. The push needed to actually shop for them came when we were invited to a Western theme wedding.
One thing I quickly learned was to disregard everything I knew about the size I would need. These boots didn’t fit the same as any other footwear I had ever had. Both my husband and I purchased boots one full size smaller than our regular sizes. Without guidance from a knowledgable person, neither of us would have thought to try on something so different from our usual size.
We talked about this and wondered if there was a life lesson here. Opportunities sometimes come that I automatically disregard because I don’t think they’re the right fit for me. Sometimes it seems like things are too big for me to handle. Other times it doesn’t seem that they are big enough. If something looks too limiting I don’t want to even try it.
What I need to remember is that with God’s guidance any circumstance can be made the right fit for me. He may stretch me in ways I never thought possible. He may also ask me to become smaller in order to serve Him. He is the one that sees the entire picture and will mold me to fit the plan He has for me.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares The Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
My husband and I were on vacation and found ourselves in a busy city on a holiday weekend. The city was teeming with people and it was difficult to maneuver around the crowds on the sidewalks. Several times we came to sets of door to go through. It was interesting to watch as people lined up to go through the one set of open doors when there were two more sets available. All they had to do was open the door and walk through. We chose to open the doors and by doing so bypassed many line ups.
As I thought about this, I realized how this is a reflection of life for me. I can line up and blindly follow others or I can consciously look for the door that the Lord has provided for me to walk through. He has given me many opportunities to move ahead into the life prepared for me. These are not forced on me, but are options that are mine for the choosing. I can blindly go through life, following the crowd, or I can choose to follow Jesus. He has promised to be the door to the life prepared for me.
I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. John 10:9 NKJV
While talking with a friend recently, he told me that he was going to go and grab a coffee. Very quickly he corrected himself and changed that to grabbing a cup of coffee, saying that he had never actually managed to grab coffee. Laughing, I said that it would just slip through his fingers.
With this visual in mind, I started to think of things that I have let slip through my fingers. There have been many opportunities that I have let pass me by because I didn’t have the confidence to just go for them. It didn’t seem to me that I had the skills or abilities needed and I was afraid to fail.
A good friend challenged me on one of these opportunities saying “What if God wants to bless you through this?” That helped me to realize that on my own I may not be able to accomplish what I would like to, but with God guiding me, all things are possible. By letting opportunities slip through my fingers, I am refusing his gifts to me and missing out on the blessings that these gifts may bring. I have a little plaque with a quote from Roy Lessin that says: “God not only knows where He is taking you, but He also knows how to get you there.” If I respond when he calls and trust him to lead me, there is no limit to what he may accomplish through me.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV