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Starting the New Year in a New Place

To be completely honest with you, I wasn’t going to make any New Year’s resolutions this year. After all, why should I set myself up for disappointment?

Then I stepped back and realized it’s just another way of setting goals and re-prioritizing. So I figured I’d give it a go, but I’d better start in October instead of January. That way, by the time the true New Year came around, I’d have a head start on actually keeping the promises I’d made to myself. After all, it takes about three months for something to truly stick in my routine, so why not get a leg up on everyone by being proactive and purposeful?

Of course, time got the better of me and then the holidays snuck up on me, so I’m left with the rest of society to figure out what hasn’t been working in my life and what needs to improve.

Really, we should be thankful for this time of year. Self-imposed or not, it’s healthy to take a step back and reassess where you’re going in your life and what you stand for. Otherwise, it’s like driving without a destination. You can’t truly know how to live if you don’t know what you’re living for.

Well, as it turns out, I was faced with some forced self-assessment because New Year’s Day 2009 also marks moving day for us. This adventure brings with it a new state, a new home, new jobs and, hopefully, new friends! Though we’d been contemplating this move for years, the actual process happened in a matter of weeks, which is very unusual anytime, much less in our current economy.

In the midst of the frenzy, a mentor cautioned me with the following words: “A successful transition to your new location relies upon you being intentional before you ever leave.”

You see, she recognized that if we just threw things in boxes and assumed we’d sort it out once we moved, we’d be setting ourselves up for failure. Likewise, if we rushed through our only week available to pack without stopping to reconnect or solidify the relationships we’d be moving away from, we would end up full of regrets and resentment. We had to give weight to the fact that with the excitement of moving there was also going to be a mix of sadness for what we were leaving behind.

God’s plan or yours?
We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps, Proverbs 16:9 warns us.

On our day-long drive home from Thanksgiving this year, we made an early stop at the Starbucks we’ve frequented locally. While waiting for our drinks, I discovered a “playbook” (they were careful not to describe it as a “workbook”) that took you through your values, beliefs and goals for the next five years. If all of us stopped to take the time to contemplate such things over coffee (or chai, in my case), we’d not only have a much clearer sense of self, but a heightened awareness of others.

After all, you do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body, as it says in 1 Corinthians 6:19b–20.

Why else would a book like “The Purpose-Driven Life” have sold millions of copies?

People want to find their ultimate calling and the reason they were put on this earth. What most people don’t realize is that understanding their destiny is simple; they must simply obey God. When we walk in His will, we fulfill His purpose for our life.

Should we then walk through our days waiting for life to happen to us? Not at all. God created us with the ability to think and therefore not only should we plan, but we should submit those plans to Him. What greater joy could our Heavenly Father have than knowing that His girls are not only thinking, but thoughtfully considering His ways higher than our own? When we plan with the knowledge that those plans could change, we leave room for the possibility that God has something different and possibly even better than we ever could have imagined on our own.

Created for relationship
On that same car trip home, I checked my Facebook and found another friend who was starting her resolutions early this year as well. There is no better time than the present to prepare for your future. Start now before today becomes tomorrow’s yesterday.

Ultimately, we were all created for relationship – first with God and then with others. We become more complete in fellowship.

What is it you wish you could be doing? What are you really doing? If something is important to us, we make time for it. The problem is that many of us don’t even take the time to stop and ask ourselves what that is. As women, we either subscribe to roles we think others want us to fill or we get caught up in trying to live for those around us. When your life is balanced, others will find comfort in your presence.

You become what you believe. If you sit around lamenting your life, you will most likely lead a miserable existence, always wanting more and wishing you were someone else. However, if you set goals, keep your focus on higher things and keep a positive attitude, even challenges become a part of the road towards your overall purpose in Christ.

Remember, We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them (Romans 8:28).