If you’re like me and almost half of Americans, you’re big on making New Year’s resolutions. What’s not to love about a fresh start? Our failures and imperfections all swept away into the ashes of last year. They’re made during the Christmas season when we’re focused on the basics of Christianity: to love God with our whole heart, mind and soul; and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Hearts of love, check. Bodies satisfied with good food, check. The icing on our spiritual cake is the promise of a new year filled with hope, potential and promise.
So what happens?
In the past, around this time each year I would reassess how faithful I’d been in keeping my resolutions so I’m not among the masses who fall off track right away. The same study from the University of Scranton reported only 8% of us actually achieve our New Year’s goals. In a matter of weeks our attitudes change from ‘I win at life’ to TGIF. I wanted off the hamster wheel of promise keeping/breaking. Recalling a leadership course I attended last summer that encouraged focusing on personal strengths instead of weaknesses, I literally had an epiphany. Why didn’t I think of that? Probably because I was concentrating on all the things I was terrible at! Remembering how I went home and immediately put some of it into practice, I decided to go for it and use the same principle for my 2015 goals and dreams. What a resounding success!
The best part is we all have strengths, or areas where we’re talented, regardless of our faith. Trusting and believing in God then couples our natural talent with His spirit endowed gifts, and life becomes more than ‘just living.’ My testimony is that I’m naturally quiet, very detail oriented, and an encourager. So I took stock of my home life. A typical day went as follows: don’t forget your keys/lunch/homework, feed the dogs, dinner at six, and yes, your cello/violin/saxophone scales sound wonderful. Not too shabby I thought, so then came the work assessment. Again, a surface look and things were progressing pretty well. My background is healthcare and scientific research. Two areas that complement me pretty well. As I began focusing on my strengths I truly allowed myself to be who God created me to be, and stopped focusing on creating an image of me I thought everyone else needed because they didn’t always align. I confess it wasn’t an easy transition, and this lifestyle requires ongoing humility checks, but by being obedient to the Lord I’m a much better wife and Mom, which makes me a more relaxed human for everyone else to be around.
Don’t deny yourself the joy of living your life to the fullest! You were created in God’s image, Genesis 1:27. Our gifts are to be used to show His love and grace to others. It’s not too late to make a “New You Resolution” in 2015. As you pray to God that He reveal your spiritual gifts, I stand in agreement that they unfold before you as the pages of a book. Choose today to believe God and change your destiny in Jesus’ name, and then watch your effort exponentially propel you forward as you stop working in the natural and start living an exceptional life. “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6
Photo credit: Ladybug And Yellow Flowers. http://www.wallwuzz.com