I, along with everyone else on the planet, hope for this new year to be better than the last.
I hope that spiritually my family and I grow closer to God, learning more of His ways and falling more in love with Him. Relationally, I hope that my family and I cherish each other more and more, and that our home be a place of peace and refuge and growth and love, and that we live up to a family motto of “Others First.” Financially, I hope that the debt we have carried around like a pet gets finally eliminated and that we are blessed in order to be able to share that blessing with others. There are many more categories, but you get the point…
I will begin this year with honest assessment of the past one.
I consistently see posts on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media venues proclaiming that 2015 was not a good year. I understand ups and downs, and I know personally that some have experienced challenges that are difficult to comprehend. However, when doing an honest assessment, keep these things in mind:
Sometimes we just want attention.
You’ve seen the posts. “Can’t wait for 2015 to end…”
I say this first, because I believe that some post about tragedy in order to receive comfort from well-wishers. In some cases, there are those who exaggerate (or even make up) tragedy in order to gain attention. This might not be popular to put out there, but it is the case in some lives that they feel they have lacked attention and “crying wolf” is a great way to get it.
We need to be honest with both the good and the bad, and let the story be the story without embellishment or serving only the purpose of attention-getting. Do I need help through struggles, or do I just want people to show me some love that I have been missing?
Was there good… even in the “bad”?
The major events of the past year came from every area of the world and were stories so diverse they were mind-blowing. The tragic stories (Terror attacks in Chattanooga and France come to mind) shook us to the core. There were stories of hope as well, and those events lifted us and challenged us to be all that we could be. However, these hope-filled stories get overshadowed by the tragic ones, and if we are not careful we will begin to see the world through a lens of despair.
When I do think of the bad, and I don’t want to lose hope, I look for the good. There is nothing good about a terrorist attack or some other tragedy, but there can be good that is found in the days that follow. This year had people come together, this year had the people of God pray in unity, and this year saw a people who learned to carry on even in the face of danger. There was good.
I can build on something I praise.
When we say we want something to be better, there is an unspoken implication that we feel the previous thing was “bad.”
I refuse to say that 2015 was bad. It was a year, filled with both good and bad. If I start with lowered expectations (“Well, this year can’t be worse…”) then I can settle for mediocrity and call it great. If I am coming off of something that is good, then my expectations can be higher.
When I say I want 2016 to be better I simply mean that I will move forward from where I am. I am challenged because I want to take the good of my past and build on it. I don’t want to settle for just being “better” than something that I have said was “bad.” That’s the easy way out.
I want to take the greatness of 2015 and see it blown out of the water by greatness in 2016.
That will take dedication. That will take a willingness to value the challenge of being uncomfortable. That will take putting my past in my past and taking each day with a vengeance. That will take the power of God at work in my life and my will being submitted to the Will of my Heavenly Father to work.
Yeah. That’s what I hope for 2016.
It’s gonna be a great year!