Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. ~Isaiah 43:18
New year, new possibilities. Time to turn the page and start fresh. Whatever mess 2015 was, it is over now. One of my favorite quotes (which I WILL illustrate sometime soon, is: It is what it is, but it will be what you make it. Yes, you did it, you said it, you tried it, it happened - but it didn't turn out the way you expected. There may be consequences: hurt feelings, financial loss, shame, denial... Ok, so take a deep breath. Just like those who lost everything from fire, flood or tornadoes, you need to pick through the pieces, salvage what can be saved, learn any lessons that can be learned and then, after another deep breath, turn the page. Turn the page and don't keep flipping back to re-read that chapter. It's part of your story now, and in time you can go back to it, but for now, in the word's of Frozen's Elsa, 'Let it Go.'
Now look at that blank page of possibilities! Maybe you haven't been too intentional about writing your story. Perhaps it's just been unfolding before you without much planning, editing or re-writing. Ponder that. Is that what you want? Do you have goals? Are you moving towards them? Or are you a leaf in the breeze being blown here and there? Are you driving the car of your life or are you just a passenger?
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. ~Psalm 90:12
I don't want to alarm you, but the clock of time is ticking. We only get a limited time on this earth to accomplish our mission. And we all have a mission, even if we don't acknowledge it. The God of the universe, the God of all creation, the God who breathed life into everything that lives, that God wants you to join His team. He loves you from afar, but He wants to be so much closer to you. He wants to be the coach you can share everything with, the one you turn to first when things are going sideways. He wants that so much, that He sacrificed His best player, His very own Son, as a ransom for your soul. His Son, Jesus, left us with the critical mission, the keys to the game: 1. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength; 2. Love your neighbor - all people - as you love yourself and your family, caring for and praying for them; 3. Go into ALL nations and make disciples by sharing the Good News and sharing your story.
Your story is powerful. Your story is true. Your story is real. And it is important -- too important to leave to others to write for you. Too important to fill with meaningless junk. Could it be that God has been working in your life all along, arranging things, presenting obstacles to illustrate themes, leading, encouraging, sending people and situations to teach you lessons? How well you learned those lessons and faced those obstacles is your story so far, but there is so much more yet to be written! Your experiences can be reframed in a way that helps others dealing with similar situations, obstacles, trials. As you work through those scraps that you salvaged, you can put those pieces together in a new way, with the help of the Holy Spirit, and make something truly beautiful, truly breathtaking, truly inspiring. Others need to hear your story. Others need to be encouraged by the way you took ashes and tears and transformed them into a masterpiece. Others need to know how God worked through your life to accomplish the mission he prepared for you from the beginning of the world. But don't take it from me...
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. ~Ephesians 2:10
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. ~Philippians 1:5-7
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, ~Matthew 28:19
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. ~Romans 12:2
I wish you a healthy, happy, blessed New Year! But most of all, I pray you will accept God's invitation to join with Him, through Jesus, in starting a new chapter in the story of your life, making it into the story it's always wanted to be, transforming your life and the lives of others as you share its power with everyone you meet along the way.
Oh, and if you're interested in spending the year with my illustrations and insights, consider picking up my annual calendar. It's available at my Zazzle Store: www.zazzle.com/visionsandverses.