So here we are in late December. The time we reflect back on the year gone by, and look forward to the year ahead. When we decide we’re going to lose more weight, pray a bit more, and generally be a better person.
Problem is, no matter how good my intentions, I often give up within a couple of months.
So for 2013 I don’t want to follow the same old patterns. I want to live differently.
God has grown me a lot this year, in ways I’d never have predicted. So in the next few weeks, I thought I’d share some of the most important lessons I’ve learned. And some decisions I’ve made as I approach the New Year.
But before I do that, here, in brief, are 6 lessons I’ve learned in 2012:
1) Take the initiative, be intentional – the times when I have grown the most in 2012 have been the times when I have been intentional about my life: Internet dating. The ‘Tribe Writers’ course. Asking people for interviews. Sharing MP3‘s. These have been areas which required courage and initiative, and subsequently been areas of growth.
2) Surrender the outcome – I have been intentional this year – but it’s rarely, if ever, worked out as I planned or expected. Usually, it’s been better. Yes, occasionally it’s been more difficult. But either way, I have learned whilst being intentional is important, it doesn’t guarantee the outcome. It only gives us direction, and momentum. God already knows how it will work out. All He asks of us is to be intentional, deliberate, and take steps of faith. But then we must surrender the outcome.
3) It’s not about you, it’s using what you’ve been given to serve others – our motivation has to be about serving a cause, a calling, about making this world better for others, rather than ourselves. If your values or ambitions are motivated by the idols of self, money and status you will never be satisfied, never achieve anything worthwhile, and will never be the person you can be.
4) We mustn’t set goals, but values – I can set a goal of finishing an e-book, but if I instead have the value of creating great work, being a finisher, of being professional in my writing and growing my gift, then completing an e-book is encompassed within this – alongside a whole load of other areas. If I have a value of looking after my body, mind and soul, and respecting myself, then eating well, exercising, reading, praying, Bible study and going to church/home group regularly all come within that. Setting values instead of goals also means I don’t get a sense of failure if I don’t achieve quite what I set out to.
5) Know your calling - I have a calling from God to write, create and share this work with people. I have learned to take confidence in this – because I know I am not alone in this journey. God is with me. This gives me increased encouragement in my work and more direction to my life, no matter what resistance I inevitably face. This is true for us all.
6) We have a responsibility to respect and love ourselves – Through God’s rebuke, I have realised others respect both me, my writing, and my leadership. People listen to what I have to say. In the same way, we must realise we are all infinitely valuable and have much to share with the world – and a responsibility to share it.
I’ll be going into more detail on a few of these in the coming weeks. But I hope even these can be useful to you as you begin reflecting on the past year and making decisions about the next.
We all learn lessons from our journey. Whatever has happened to you this year will undoubtedly have taught you something worthwhile.
Just as I hope what I’ve learned can be of benefit to you, it’s likely the lessons you have learned can be beneficial to all of us.
One of the greatest gifts we can give is take what we’ve been given – whether it’s talents, experiences or lessons we’ve learned – and share them with the world. (you can tweet that here)
So I end with a challenge.
Think of the lessons have you learned in 2012. Then share them in the comments below. Blog about them. Tweet and FB them. Share them with others.
The world is waiting to hear your story.(you tweet that here)