Launch Your Life in 2015
A while back, I bought one of those five-year sentence-a-day journals. Each day poses a new question: How much money do you have in the bank? What are three things you wish you had? When is the last time you ate in a restaurant?
I’m already on year four, and each day, after scrawling off another answer, I glance over my responses from years past. Some of my answers reveal a change of mindset as I’ve grown older; others prove some things never change.
Now that some time has passed since 2014 fell off the calendar, you may be feeling that some things never change. Or maybe they change too fast. Last year may have been amazing. Or maybe it was disappointing. It may have been a year brimming with promise. Or maybe you watched as your hopes and dreams crumbled away.
Regardless of what happened in 2014, the reality remains: the hours of 2015 are largely unfilled, yet they are packed with potential. How can you make sure this is a year of growth and development—for you, for your goals, and for your walk with God? How can you make 2015 count?
It’s something we know to do, yet we don’t always do it: pray for purpose and direction. When we pray sincerely and consistently for God’s guidance, He is faithful to respond.
For as long as I can remember, it’s been my dream to write novels. A couple of years ago, I began praying hard—and even fasting—about God’s favor and direction with the novel I was writing. Within a matter of days, I felt a strong prompting toward something I hadn’t considered before: blogging.
I was hesitant.
Starting a blog would take away from my already limited novel-writing time. But the idea took root and wouldn’t budge. So I started following blogging gurus online. I researched the how-tos of blogging. I started a blog. And I kept praying.
Blogging led to writing opportunities I wouldn’t have had otherwise—projects that have left me fulfilled in ways my book-writing attempts never did. I still want to finish that novel someday, but for now, I know I’m where God wants me. And it all started with sincere, purposeful prayer.
2. Take baby steps.
What is it that you want? A better job? A closer relationship with God? To lose weight? To win souls? To get that college degree? In addition to praying, brainstorm ideas—baby steps—that will move you closer to your goal.
In his book The 2-Degree Difference, Dr. John Trent talks about the impact a “two-degree” change in direction or mindset can have on a person’s life. Two-degree changes are small, consistent, positive changes that yield big results: Instead of starting a complicated exercise regimen, you commit to taking the stairs to your sixth-floor office every morning. Instead of trying to log five hours of piano practice a week, you commit to five minutes a day.
If you’ve made a resolution this year, don’t be compelled to barrel into it—especially if it’s important. Delving into something new without proper planning will only make you feel discouraged and overwhelmed. Do you want to lose weight? You could stock your fridge with carrots and celery . . . Or you could take a week to come up with a healthful, enjoyable meal plan—something you’re more likely to stick with for the long haul.
3. Be patient.
Sometimes taking baby steps is hard because we lack patience for them.
No doubt you’re familiar with the term “microwave mentality.” We’re conditioned to getting what we want now; we don’t do well when we have to wait. But there’s more a guarantee of success in consistency than there is in haste.
The Bible has a lot to say about patience. Galatians 6:9 reminds us to persevere in doing good, for we will reap what we have sown if we do not give up. Being patient (longsuffering) is one of the fruit of the Spirit, and often, a prerequisite for success.
Of his ten thousand unsuccessful attempts to create the light bulb, Thomas Edison made the well-known statement,
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
It is difficult to truly fail when you view your missteps as a necessary part of the learning experience. Be patient with yourself. Find joy in the small triumphs.
4. Trust God.
You won’t be able to control everything that happens to you this year. There will be good times and bad. But you can control your choices and your attitude about what happens to you, and often that will make all the difference.
Go out and do your best! Seek God. Be patient. Persevere! And may God bless you beyond your wildest dreams in 2015.