As I look back on 2013, I am most struck by the feeling of contentment that washes over me. This is a feeling that has been fairly elusive in the past as a year comes to an end. Our family certainly experienced our share of loss and sadness. We experienced trials and triumphs. We made lots of memories and loved a lot. So what was different about 2013? Why the contentment and not a huge rush to move on to 2014 as in years past? The word God continues to place on my heart is priorities. I finally put my priorities in order. Not quite faith, family, and ducks as our Duck Dynasty friends prioritize…but God, family, friends. He is first. He is center. Oh what peace I missed out on not giving Him front and center years ago.
Two things continue to stir in my heart as we approach a new year. Last year I started choosing a word to focus on for the entire year. For 2013, my word was obedience. My goal was to open my servant’s heart and continually ask Him to empty me and use me for His service. Being obedient is something I crave and something that will be a continual process. This year I will choose a word and will choose verses for different areas of my life and I encourage you to do the same. More on this tomorrow!
Secondly, as we approach the new year and set goals, determining motive is extremely important. Why are we choosing to make this a goal? If our motives are to glorify God, draw closer to Him, and improve ourselves for His use and our well-being…rock on! If we are setting goals to prove something to someone else or as a result of being stuck in the comparison trap, it is time to reevaluate. Motivation is important. Grace is necessary. Extend yourselves grace. We are going to fall…mess up… need a do-over. Do not beat yourself up. Lamentations 3:23 tells us the Lord’s mercies are new every morning. Praise God! While a new year is a great place to start, do not be defeated when you stumble. His. Mercies. Are. New. Every. Morning.