Ask just about anyone and they’ll tell you they’re convinced that they see the world clearly—it’s those other guys that have it wrong. But the truth is that seeing clearly is almost impossible. We all are biased by our own perspective. It amazes me how two people can go through similar experiences and have completely different opinions and outcomes. As we start a new year, it’s important that we see things as clearly as possible.
In today’s blog we look at some ways to make sure our vision is as clear as possible. I encourage you to get some time alone; set aside some time to plan and dream for the coming year. If possible, schedule a prayer and planning retreat. Take the time to go through the following three areas to get a clearer look at the coming year.
#1 Look Back! (Ponder)
Sometimes we move from one thing to the next without pausing to reflect. Our month “January” is named for Janus who was said to have two faces, allowing him to look back at the past year and forward to the new year simultaneously. That’s why January marks the turn of the year. There’s a reason they say the unexamined life is not worth living. None of us have achieved all we can, accomplished all we hope to, or arrived at our destination. We all need reflection and correction! So look back and ask yourself:
- What are some victories I can celebrate from this past year?
- What were the challenges I faced?
- What did I learn this past year? (Consider both your successes and failures!)
- How have I matured and grown?
- What would you have done differently?
“In everything the prudent acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly.” (Proverbs 13:16)
#2 Look Up! (Pray)
God asks us to ask. None of us can see clearly. That’s why we need God’s help! Jesus told us to ask, seek and knock, and goes on to say: “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:7-11). What a promise! So look up and ask God:
- Lord, please examine my heart and life, what do I need to change? Confess? Forgive?
- Lord, what do you want me to be, but I have not yet become?
- What do you want me to accomplish this coming year?
- Where do I need Your wisdom and direction?
“Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me for you are my God and my Savior and my hope is in you all day long.” (Psalm 24:4-5)
#3 Look Ahead! (Plan)
If you want things to be different in 2108, you need to do something different! That requires planning. A recent study tracked 5,000 participants with different goals, ranging from losing weight to relationships. Guess what? Those who reached their goals were the ones who had a plan. Zig Ziglar once said, “People don’t tend to wander around and then suddenly find themselves at the top of Mount Everest.” So plan ahead and ask yourself:
- What are my 4-5 priorities for this coming year?
- What specific steps/goals do I need to take to accomplish these priorities?
- Who do I need on my team to work with me?
- What resources and learning do I need?
“The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.” (Proverbs 21:5)
BEFORE YOU GO…
Take some time to get a clearer look at 2018. The Hebrew word for “year” (Shanah) also means “change or difference.” Change is something we should expect and embrace. We want the new year to make a difference!
As you’re planning, remember we have resources to share at the Conference Office. We’ll have grants available again this year for seminars and conferences. Also, there’s still time to sign up for coaching. Contact Nancy at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to sign up.