Tag Archives: Goals

Entering the New Year With Hope

Someone once stated, “Men plan, God laughs” and looking back at your previous year, perhaps you can relate!  My wife and I sure have had our share of trials at times these past few years; a couple of those trials even followed us into the following New Year.  And while some folks are busily jotting down their New Year’s resolutions and planning every week for the next year, others are facing the upcoming new year AND new decade with the “same stuff, different year” philosophy.  But just for an instant, a brief moment in time, if you look at your new calendar just right, you’ll see it; a blank slate, an empty page, a blossoming hope for better days ahead.

Sure, I’ve been one of those resolution driven individuals who would charge into the New Year touting remarks like, “I will strive to eat better” or “I will endeavor to exercise more consistently and get in better shape” or even “I will attempt to be the best version of myself”…whatever that means? Without some thought, planning and preparation, many jump into these resolutions and burn themselves out after only a couple of weeks.  I’ve touted the first two “resolutions” and reflected below is a sampling of my personal experiences.

A few years (or so) ago, my wife and I joined Weight Watchers to shed some weight and generally feel better.  I was doing pretty well, getting into the groove of eating certain foods that was considered healthy and, being a creature of habit, ate these same foods on a regular basis.  On one occasion at our WW group meeting, I had a particularly good weight loss week, and so I was encouraged to share what I had been doing.  Being rather proud of myself and that week’s accomplishments, I proceeded to share with the group what I routinely ate for breakfast.  There were audible gasps throughout the group and I thought the one lady in the third row was going to pass out right there; it seems what I thought was normal and healthy for me had exceeded 98% of the group member’s point total for half the day!  “You must have great metabolism” they said…whatever…

The other activity I would dabble in at times was exercise.  As those of you who know me can attest, I’m not exactly the poster child for Mr. Olympia.  However, exercise is the catalyst that helps me lose weight and keeps my health in check.  I remember one particular early morning, dragging my carcass into the local YMCA to work out before work.  I always began my morning routine warming up, most of the time on the Elliptical machine.  As luck would have it that morning, the only machine open was beside the most perfect specimen of a human being.  I’m pretty sure that he turned his machine on the “MEGA MACHO” setting for his sixty minutes of pure bliss, complete with a dumb bell in one hand, a power drink in the other, while pouring over a book in front of him.  If he did sweat, I’m sure the one drop that dribbled down the side of his head smelled like Irish Spring.  I, on the other hand, turned my machine on the desired setting of “NINJA TURTLE”.  After five minutes on the machine, I appeared to have just completed an ice bucket challenge, for sweat was pouring from every pore.  I swear I was getting stares like, “you ARE going to clean that area up, aren’t you?”…yeah, whatever…

Many times in our lives, we are railroaded into believing a misplaced opinion or criticism and it, well, gets us off track from meeting our goals, resolutions and/or dreams until they are never realized; they never come to fruition.  We have to be determined to focus on the prize before us, to block out all outside negative influences if we want to see our hopes and dreams become a certainty.  But here’s another train of thought; what if your goal/dream/hope was only a selfish want that should never have been realized anyway?  What if that goal you’re spending so much time and energy attempting to birth is out of line with your needs or the needs of your family; more importantly, what if it’s directly out of line with God’s will for your life?

The hymnist, William Mote, penned the first few lines of his beloved hymn, The Solid Rock, which reflects how we must align our hopes, dreams and goals. “My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.”  Once our hopes are based on God’s will and not our own, the future becomes so much brighter and a lot less scary.  For if we truly believe everything we see, hear and read in the media, social media and print, from impeachment proceedings to rampant crime statistics, hope would scarcely be found.  It’s only when we completely rely on God’s will for our lives, does our future shine with the brilliant hope of tomorrow and eternity; for even death itself doesn’t have the fatal sting when we are one of His own.  Romans 8:23-25 states, “Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.  For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”  Yep, we can hold on to the hope of something greater one day; but for now, we have to be patient AND obedient to the will of our loving Heavenly Father.

Just one more thing to consider; we all go through different seasons in our lives.  Just as storms come and go, even though the storm may be severe at the time, they eventually blow over and the sun shines once more.  So it is with the situation you currently face; God may not remove the storm clouds from your life, but he’s definitely there beside you to walk with you through the storm.  What a comforting thought that reinforces our hope for tomorrow as we step into a new year AND a new decade!So, what does your new year look like?  Are you already frazzled from all the upcoming self-proclaimed goals, resolutions and deadlines you have laid out for yourself or are you going to listen and act based on God’s will for your life?  My goal for this next year is to strive to nestle closer to the One who knows me best and loves me most.  And perhaps my hope is to dismantle this annex I’ve built over time on to God’s temple; I know that is my physician’s hope as well…

Thought of the Day–1/2/18

Tomorrowland

Thought of the Day—Remember Tomorrowland; that procrastinator’s paradise of distant time and place where we put all things off until?  “I’ll do that tomorrow” or “we’ll deal with that next year…”  Well, guess what; reality check…we’ve arrived!!  May you allow God to gently guide you through this day, this moment; to ease you in to what you ultimately have to face and accomplish this week, this month, or this year…

Thought of the Day–1/1/18

2018

Thought of the Day—Welcome to 2018–a New Year, a blank slate. As we go through this next year, many events that we experience will be as a result of someone else’s choices that affect you.  Other occurrences will be from your own decisions, whether they be wise or foolish.  Wouldn’t it be nice to allow God, in His infinite wisdom, to scribe out your life as He sees fits and just follow His plan?  Here we are at day one; what will you write as you pick up the pen of your life?  The myriad of list entries that seem so important or a simple “Thy will be done…”?

Thought of the Day–12/18/17

Christmas gifts

Thought of the Day—It’s a week before Christmas. Are you still trying to find that perfect gift that no one wants or are you making final preparations for the perfect gift your whole family wants AND needs; your presence?  I’m not talking about your physical body being present and accounted for as much as you, in the moment, getting involved; go to that Christmas Eve service, engage with your kids and others, play those table games, arrange dinner around your needs not vice versa.  It’s not too late to surprise your family this Christmas; make it count!

Resisting the Temptation to put it in Reverse

Mounds bars

Wow, it’s the New Year already!  And, I bet like most folks, you still have remnants of Christmas joy jiggling around your midsection.  This is the time of year when so many people run around with a new gym membership in one hand and a weight loss membership in the other, all in hopes of becoming that perfect specimen of a human once again.  New Year’s resolutions this time of year are as plentiful as political promises and evaporate just as fast.

I personally don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions; I believe they are nothing more than imaginary manmade cliffs used to hurl oneself off upon the craggy rocks of self pity down below after one breaks one’s resolution.  I would rather rely on realistic goals, both short and long term.  But even realistic goals can become subject to neglect; goals can take a tremendous amount of time and energy to achieve the intended results and many times, we just don’t want to expend that kind of energy; we want to go back where it’s easy and comfortable.  Proverbs 26:11 (NASB) says,Like a dog that returns to its vomit Is a fool who repeats his folly.”  Even though this scripture relates to Christians who turn away from God, back to their old sinful lives, this could very well describe our own actions when we are on a very productive worthwhile course and for whatever reason, suddenly stop and revert back to our old habits or ways of doing things whether that be bellying back up to the Double Stuffed Oreos or being a couch potato once again.

Here is another, more graphic analogy I can think of when I turn my back from what I know I should be doing for my own good.  This happens to also involve a dog, MY dog.  We love our dog and we want to make sure she is safe and healthy.  Therefore, we feed her good healthy dog food that does not contain anything that she is allergic to or would harm her.  We even give her wheat Chex as treats because they are healthier for her.  But for whatever reason there are times when she ingests what she just eliminated.  And for those folks who just didn’t understand that, to be blunt, she eats her own poop…there, I said it!  It’s like she sees the invisible “Hot and Now” sign in the yard and away she goes, chowing down on her own backyard Mounds bar.  Unlike others who might appreciate her “recycling” attempts, we as her “parents” are embarrassed to even admit that our own little Izzy could be so disgusting.  I mean, what would the neighbors think?  Not to mention, wet sloppy face kisses are out of the question for awhile…you see, when we regress back to our old bad habits like the above disgusting scenario,  it really does stink and leaves a bad taste in our mouths!

So how do we stay on course?  First of all, I think we need to look at the end product, the goal, the prize, the end game.  Is what we are attempting to achieve realistic or just a pipe dream?  For instance, at 58, it may not be healthy for me to go back to what I weighed when I was eighteen because bodies change and mature as we grow older. In fact, at this point in time in my life, I would have to cut off all my limbs and shave my back hair to get to that weight; but I could at least lose the weight I need to be healthier.  Envision the benefits of losing that weight, putting down that pack of cigarettes or bottle or whatever destructive behavior you need to be released from.

Next, find someone you can trust to be accountable; someone that will have your back through this journey and who won’t let you off the hook, ready to give you that “tough love” when you need it as well as the encouragement to stay the course.  Make sure you communicate to that someone what your eventual goal is as well as the short term goals or markers along the way so they can help you meet those goals and be successful.  And remember, DO NO HARM—your friend/advocate/sponsor is only trying to help and you did select them, right?

Finally, it wouldn’t hurt to dive in to the Bible and devotionals for added encouragement.  There are many encouraging scriptures to meditate and revitalize your spirit.  But saving the best for last, how about prayer?  God always knows what we need, when we need it and the Holy Spirit can guide you through life’s challenges like no human can.  After all, God wants us to be our best as He intended so we can do our best for Him.

So the next time you feel tempted to put it in reverse and once again pick up that “Mounds bar” of a bad habit, just remember, some things are meant to be left behind in the grass, forgotten…just saying…

 

Philippians 4:8 (NASB)– Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NASB) — Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.