For some, 2016 may have been a great year, yet one look around the internet shows 2016 was less than fantastic. So with the arrival of 2017, many are wishing for something better. Every year brings with it uncertainty, every year has possibility, and every year can either be our best or our worst. That’s common knowledge though, right? The truth is, we often leave things up to chance. Which is strange since, as Followers of Jesus, we believe that God holds the universe in His hands.
We hold to many Christian platitudes, (such as “God is in control,” or “God is still on the throne”) we either rely on the chance or the hope that God will just do it all for us, and make things better. However, we often forget one crucial thing in all of this: we have the ability to make our year better. God has given us that choice. Yes, that’s right. It’s a choice because we may not be able to know what will happen in this year, but we can choose how we react to it, we can make plans, and we can make choices that will better us and our year.
Of course, even all the planning in the world can’t make everything great, and all the ability you have may not change certain situations. But that doesn’t mean you have to be pushed around by the waves of life. When we do that we run the risk of letting old habits and thought patterns take hold of us and we run on auto pilot, then guess what? 2017 ends up being the same as last year, or the year before that. Some of us likely have been living the same bad years over and over, because we refuse to take action. We simply keep waiting around for God or someone else to do it for us. In order to make life better, in order to change things around us, we have to work at it, instead of just wishing for it. I am one of those that didn’t have that great a year, yes many things happened that were good, but many choices left me with regrets and many regrets came as a result of inaction. So I prayed and looked for some ways that I could make choices to live my life better this year:
1) Be More Active and Less Distracted
We all have a tendency to be controlled by what comes our way; especially with social media and other media outlets. We could let these tools make a difference in our lives by helping us connect with others and by allowing our voices to be heard, or we could instead be distracted by them. We can spend hours just scrolling away on our phone, and with that, we not only waste hours of our lives, but we also feed our minds with negativity and problems. Yes, there are good things out there, but most of the time you have to look for it, since it is mainly the bad stuff that seems to just comes our way. What we can instead choose to do is purposefully limit what we listen to. Go on an unfollowing spree, so that you listen to the voices that matter most and that can help you be better, instead of just bringing you down.
2) Be Bold and Courageous
Life is full of opportunities, yet we seldom take them. Often times, it’s because of fear, or because we just don’t notice them. That is often a result of our habits, the habit of not taking chances. I have learned that God often opens doors for us to touch lives, or for us to experience Him and our world in new ways, but since we are so used to the comfort of living with our usual routine, we don’t take these chances. We should always take every chance to learn something, to experience something, to connect with someone new, to touch a life, to show love, and to make a difference. These things will enrich your life. All it takes is a decision to take the first step, and keep moving, the first step often gives you the momentum to keep going.
3) Give it all to God
If God is not involved in our plans, then we are just spinning our wheels. Ultimately, we were created for fellowship with our Creator and to worship Him. If we take Him out of the equation of life, then we are really missing out on what makes our world amazing. Because God made the world, He knows the best places, spots, views, and more! So before we do anything, always pray, always place it in His hands. Sometimes He won’t give you a yes or a no, but always give Him the glory for the life you live. That’s what He wants for us; not riches or stuff, but to be able to experience Him and the life He gave us to the fullest!
Jesus said: “…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 NIV
Live life. Follow Jesus. Be amazed.