Devotional December 28, 2018

New Year, new you.

The idea of New Years resolutions have always fascinated me. Mainly because we make them with such enthusiasm and expectation. I read a statistic that said roughly 45% of Americans make resolutions and only just about 8% actually see them through. That’s troubling because I know exactly where I am within that, right amongst the 8%.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve made some great resolutions or goals for the new year, stuck with them for a short period of time, and then watched them fade off into the sunset about three months later. It happens. We lose sight of things easily, especially with the fast pace of the world we live in, but another failed resolution or New Years goal can start the chain reaction for a “bad year.” I think the issue with me specifically is that I usually make vague, flexible goals that exist mainly in my mind. I never write them down and I certainly don’t share them with others. There is no real accountability to achieve my goals and resolutions, so naturally, I don’t achieve them.

With that being said, I learned a lot in 2018, but by no means am I saying it was my breakout year. It wasn’t. It was however a year of breakthrough for me. I learned a lot about my desires and expectations. I learned about the the protection of our sovereign, gracious God but it was only through the experience of not abiding in the shadows of the almighty. I don’t type that lightly, so please don’t glaze over those words. The weight of it is heavy and I don’t want the message to be missed. I spent most of 2018 trying to achieve personal goals and fulfill self pleasing desires that only left me deprived of happiness and my heart void of joy. I was vulnerable to virtually every trap the enemy set for me, I fell for it all.

I don’t want more of the same in 2019 and I’m certain that you feel the same.

In Paul’s letter to the Colossians, he says “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)

This is my resolution for 2019, to live with an “attitude of gratitude.” I’m telling you all now so that I’m held accountable for it.

If I had to describe 2018 in one word, for me, it would have been “horrible.” But was it really that horrible? I surely had good days and even some great ones, but with all the junk and mess I was entrenched in, it was easy to forget about them. Like o said, I want this new year to be different. I want to start and end my day, giving thanks to the Lord. I think if we all intentionally practice thanksgiving each day it’ll give us fresh vision to see the good around us and in long run, a new perspective over the year we just had.

Family, to sweeten your new year, I pray that you’d consider joining me in a daily gratitude “assignment”. If you choose to join me in this journey, here are some easy steps to consider…

  1. First, find an empty box. A shoe box is perfect. Cut a hole on the top, label the box “2019”. This box will be your gratitude box.
  2. Each day you wake, thank God and track down some of the things throughout the day that your grateful for – write them down on paper (in real time if possible). Be sure to date them.
  3. Before you lay down for bed, take the slips of paper that you wrote down on throughout the day, the things that you experienced that you were grateful for and place them in your gratitude box at night. 

Important to know:

Some nights you may have more things written down than other days – that’s OK!

Each day though, you should have at least one thing that you’re grateful for.

For example, it can be as big as you hit the lottery (which I hope does happen!) or as seemingly minor as the sun was shining outside. It’s totally up to you. Put it this way though, if you’re alive, reading this email, you have something to be grateful for.

The most important part of all this is to give thanks to God. Every day you wake, throughout the day, before you close your eyes for bed – to thank the Lord. He didn’t have to allow it, but He actively chose to give you life for a reason this day. You have purpose here on earth. If you didn’t, He would have called you back home to Heaven.

So…whether it’s the gratitude box, journaling, writing a text to close friend with what your grateful for, or whatever method you decide to choose; recounting what you’re grateful for a practicing thanksgiving to God is an effective way to counter discouragement and setbacks throughout the day, let alone the long year ahead.

I believe that as we all practice the habit of expressing gratitude, we’ll notice more and more “thanks-worthy” things throughout each day which ultimately, will lead you towards a more fulfilling upcoming New Year.

I’m grateful for each and everyone one of you. I hope and pray that you and your family have a very safe and Happy, healthy and ground breaking, earth-shattering New Year – may our God bless you all!

“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Gene

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