How to Get to December’s Destination

I didn’t set out this year to have a resolution or Word for the year. Like I said in an earlier post, I would rather a map. Surprisingly that desired map has morphed from the devotional book, Daily Power by Craig Groeschel.

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In the devotional for January 2, Groeschel writes, “One small decision today could have a big impact on tomorrow.” He encourages the reader to pick one discipline to work on this year. Something that will deepen our relationship with Christ, which ultimately puts us exactly where God desires.

Disciplines. Ugh. Can’t say I have a stellar record in that department lately. But Groeschel makes it sound simple which is good. Simple is about all I can manage right now. He says to pick one. I could pick several that need work but as Groeschel is firm on this, I pick only one.

January 2nd’s devotional was also a reminder that our decisions today, both good and bad, affect our tomorrows.

It’s a subject he touches on throughout the month of January. He writes on January 27th, “I’m a firm believer that the actions you take today sow the seeds of your future. Your daily habits will create a cumulative impact on what you do tomorrow, next week, and next year.”

As I read that, I realize how lazy I’ve gotten. I’ve let go of some good daily habits, some I had cultivated for years. At the present, I’m like a leaf in the wind, going wherever the wind blows. I don’t think it matters what I do, so why bother? Groeschel says just the opposite. He’s saying change is possible, one small habit or decision at a time. If I want to change then I need to look to my destination instead of my past. I may have to start making good decision to get me there. A map of sorts.

This came up the other day in conversation. Someone told me that a task they had to do “didn’t matter.” It wasn’t important in their minds. I thought about that and put it up against what I had been reading in Groeschel’s book.

I disagreed. Everything we do, it matters. Even the little inconsequential things. It may not be the task itself, but the attitude behind it. That smile at a stranger may be the only positive interaction they have that day. The course we thought was a waste of time, opened up a door to something else we loved. We just never know and so to some extent, yes, it matters. The key is looking at the bigger picture. Does our decision, our attitude get us closer to our purpose, our goal to be transformed?

What do we have to do to get to the place where God will work in our lives? Where do I want to be, come December?

It’s not a striving, or chasing either. A list of “To Do’s” that’s going to put me on the good girl list. This is having a living, breathing relationship with God.

Where I want to be in December is not where I am standing right now. So I will work on that one discipline, starting with those small daily habits that may seem mundane but pack a lot of punch when added up. I will use this not-what-I-was-expecting map to help me get to December’s destination.

How ‘bout you? Where do you want to be come December and how will you get there?

 

Day 1

Ministry. Marriage. Motherhood. There have been times I wasn’t sure I’d survive them. Sometimes they come together in a tsunami of life and I think I’m going to go right under.

Not a positive way to start the new year is it? Especially if it’s one filled with promise. Or maybe it’s already started on the negative and that kind of thought isn’t going to make it get any better.

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January 1 always comes wrapped up shiny and bright, luring us to raise our expectations, hope for better things to come and generally feel good. Until the first major crisis. For some of us, it didn’t take very long for that to happen.

That’s just it. Life happens. None of us can go through all 365 days and not have the stuff that makes up life thrown at us. It’s impossible.

So as we spit out the confetti and deal with loved ones, sickness, impossible situations, I think it’s important to realize that the whole facade of New Years is exactly that. A facade. Because any day can be a fresh start. Day 1. Any day can bring about rebirth. Rejuvenation. On any given day, we can choose to start over. Begin.

We put all our excitement into New Years’s only to be frustrated and disappointed when we stumble or fall. We think because we broke our resolutions, we failed. Why bother now?

Because that’s not what it’s about. Yes, we can decide that any day is Day 1 but the fact is we will probably have about twenty Day 1’s in a given year. Because we will stumble. We will fall. We will give in to temptation. It’s not about being perfect from Day 1 on. It’s about learning to get up when we fall after Day 1. It’s about growth and learning from mistakes. We move on when we learn from our messes. We don’t need to go back to Day 1 because we’ve already grown and so we can move into Day 2 or whatever day it is.

A new day or year cannot bring change. It’s only a starting point. So is our attitude. They both open the door to change. There is only one person that can bring about transformation.

It’s not us.

Our church’s mission statement is this: “Our vision at Bethany is to lead people into a transforming relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Romans 12:2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (NLT)

We can hope to change all we like. We can work our tails off to change and we might succeed for a little while but we’ll end up disillusioned and exhausted. I know this all too well. I have to believe real change can only come through a relationship with Jesus because I’ve tried it the other ways. It doesn’t work.

A relationship can make a difference in a person’t life.  Think about teens and their friends. Good or bad influences can alter decisions our kids’ make and how they live their lives.  Think of the Holy Spirit as the ultimate good influence.  Giving His Spirit access to our minds, hearts, attitudes and bodies makes us different. He’s not transforming us into better versions of ourselves, although that’s a bonus.  He is making us more like Christ.  That is the only way transformation can happen.

And it can happen on Day 1 or Day 101.

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