Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do,
forgetting those things which are behind,
and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
(Php 3:13-14 KJV)
(Php 3:13-14 KJV)
I absolutely adore new beginnings!!! New years, new babies, new starts, new spiritual births, new…fresh…clean…There are some 'new's in my life, as well. I just entered a new decade. I’m calling it my decade of grace because it’s the start of my fifth decade here on earth. (in the Bible, the number 5 represents grace) Yes, I just turned 40. Just seeing that in writing makes me cringe. Judging by how my first few days of being forty have gone, I think I may need a lot of grace! My body seems to have gone awol on me with a sudden onset of blood pressure issues, landing me in the emergency room on Christmas day....but, I digress. New beginnings....I love them!
Anyhow, the last seven months have been a time of great learning for me, a time where the Lord has been refining, polishing, and evening banging out the dents [ouch], and there is still so much work to be done! I cannot think of any other verses that more succinctly put into perspective my goals for the coming year than the ones above....forget - reach - press.
- forgetting past failures: Stop dwelling on the number of times you've tried and failed. Try again. Remember, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Php 4:13 KJV)
- forgetting past hurts: Yes, I know people have hurt you; I know they have failed to apologize. Maybe your spouse has been unfaithful or your friend has betrayed you. People will disappoint you but Jesus never will. You can't change another's heart but you can you can protect yours by forgiving. Just let it go and move on. Breathe. I promise, when you let the hurt go, you will feel so much better. I know :-)
- forgetting passed over dreams: If you're an adult that is reading this, I can just about guarantee there is something in your life that you could say "I wish..." and you realize that thing you're wishing for just isn't going to happen. Whether the dream is unfulfilled due to something you've done (taken a wrong path, made a bad choice, run out of time) or whether it is simply something that wasn't in God's perfect will for your life, passed over dreams can be disappointing. The problem with dwelling on what you've missed out on is that it robs you of the present! Determine today that you aren't going to waste one more precious breath in disappointment over what "might" have been.
This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Take it from the short woman, reaching implies effort. When I'm looking at something on the shelf and my husband or eldest daughter isn't around to get it for me, there's a lot of s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g going on to reach it. It's the same in life, whether we're reaching for a physical goal or a spiritual one.
Is there something you want to reach for this year?
I'm not talking about a resolution, because those are based upon your own willpower. The funny thing about reaching is that the more you try, the more you achieve. Have you ever sat down on the floor with your feet out in front of you and tried to reach for your toes? For some people this is a difficult task. Their flexibility is limited. However, if they will spend time daily, gently trying to reach a little further, eventually they will reach their goal!
The same holds true in life. Simply resolving to accomplish something is not going to accomplish it but having a plan and stretching out a little further each and every day will surely get you to the finish line.
- Do you want to read your Bible through this year? Download a one year through the Bible plan and stretch a little farther each day.
- Are you really serious about getting those pounds off? Running that marathon? Lowering your cholesterol? Junk all the "quick and easy" (i.e. fad) methods and do some research on those things that have been proven to work. Yes, it may take longer but if a stretch isn't done slowly, you're going to hurt yourself!
- Does your home or homeschool need an overhaul? Create a workable plan and simply work it, day in and day out. No need to make everyone crazy with your atomic bomb plan that explodes in a big flash and leaves disaster in its wake. Start with mom (fun), get it together....then work your plan.
The one area in my life that I have the hardest time pressing forward is that of homeschooling. I have a confession to make. I do not homeschool because I adore it (although I can't imagine my children being away from me all day) or because I'm particularly good at it. I do it because I love the Lord and I want to please Him. The inference (if not an outright charge) is in the Scripture for God's people to home educate their children, where no plausible biblical argument could possibly be made in favor of public or christian school So we do what we believe the Lord has commanded (entry on that coming soon!). Still, there are many, many times where I simply have to grit my teeth and just do it (or not....right Deb? lol)
The Lord knew that there would be times like these. Times when it would be difficult to continue on in our Christian race, which is why He had the apostle Paul encourage us to press forward. Is there something that God has called you to do that could use some extra effort? Maybe you've been going along at a nice, steady pace but now you're tired. It isn't time to quit or slow down or back up. It's time to dig deep, ask the Lord for extra strength and press on for the glory of God!
Can I encourage you to take a few minutes and really think about the upcoming year? Look at that new calendar with all of its empty dates, just waiting to be filled with purpose! What do you want to accomplish this year? How will 2012 be different for you than last year? Will you grow closer in your walk with the Lord? Will you add precious memories to your mind's vault? Will you choose to invest time into your children instead of worldly pursuits? How could you strengthen your marriage this year and be a better helpmeet to your husband? When this year has ended, what will you look back on and smile and say, "I did it"?
© Adorning Grace 2012