Monday, January 1, 2018

New Beginnings

Once we've celebrated Christmas my thoughts often recall the events of the year and wonder what the new year will bring.

Sometimes the past has pain, regrets and disappointments for myself and maybe others. I've made mistakes and things have not worked out the way I planned or wanted. I've missed opportunities to, make a difference for myself and others or to turn selfish moments into blessings for others.

The prospect of a new year brings the opportunity to leave all that behind, seek forgiveness by confessing our wrong and start a fresh. Even though its just the change of the calendar - as the morning dawns just like the day before's - the new year marks a point for new beginnings.

But do we really seek out new beginnings or are we afraid of failure, being laughed at or criticized for doing/being different or being someone we "shouldn't" be.

[I've never liked that word 'should'. Comments like "You should..." imposing something on me when it could have been said "you could..." which offers options; or "Would you.....?" which actually gives you a choice]

As you look back at what you've already overcome you realise that most times failure doesn't do permanent damage. In fact, as many have said, failure actually is a trophy that shows you have taken the courage to try and although you didn't succeed there is the opportunity to learn and try again.

When New Year Resolutions are made statistics have shown that by the end of February 85% of them have been broken already - that's failure on a big level and maybe if the resolutions were never made (especially on the whim of the moment) that high percentage wouldn't happen.

So does that mean don't bother?

Well its up to you. I like to set myself challenges and goals and this year I start with a different mindset.

I've just finished reading a book by Lysa TerKeurst  called Made to Crave and a key theme was 'unsettle me' [page 171 -172]

 Yes, indeed, unsettle me Lord. 
 Unearth that remnant of unforgiveness. 
 Shake loose that justification for compromise. 
 Reveal that broken shard of pride. 
 Expose that tendency to distrust. 
 Unsettle me in the best kind of way. For when I allow your touch to reach the deepest parts of me- dark and dingy and hidden away too long- suddenly, a fresh wind of life twists and twirls and dances through my soul. 
 I can delight in forgiveness and love more deeply.
 I can discover my gentle responses and find softer ways for my words to land.
 I can recognize the beauty of humility and crave the intimacy with God it unleashes.
 I can rest assured though harsh winds blow, I will be held.
 Goodbye to my remnants, my justification, shards, and tendencies. This is not who I am- nor who I was created to be.
 Goodbye to shallow love, sharp words, self focus, and suspicious fears. I am an unsettled woman who no longer wishes to take part in your distractions or distructions.
 Welcome deeper love, softer words, unleashed intimacy, and the certainty I am held.
 Welcome my unsettled heart

In particular I have written down "Unsettle me in the best kind of way." 
It's like a challenge received from God to say yes to, knowing that with His guiding He will only give us what we can cope with.

The devotion for today from The Word For Today was titled "This Year Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone" with the scripture from Isaiah 41:10

So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

I felt God was showing me to step out, to take up the challenge and to look for a new way with Him.

It ended with a poem...

'I used to have a comfort zone where I knew I couldn't fail; 
the same four walls of busywork were really more like jail. 
I longed so much to do the things I'd never done before, 
but stayed inside my comfort zone and paced the same old floor. 
I said it didn't matter that I wasn't doing much; 
I said I didn't care for things like dreams and goals and such. 
I claimed to be so busy with the things inside my zone, 
but deep inside I longed for something special of my own. 
I couldn't let my life go by just watching others win;
 I held my breath and stepped outside and let the change begin. 
I took a step, and with new strength I'd never felt before, 
I kissed my comfort zone goodbye, then closed and locked the door. 
If you are in a comfort zone, afraid to venture out, 
remember that all winners were at one time filled with doubt.'

Author Unknown

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