We are straight out of the gate of a brand new year! Many of us resemble strong racing stallions, running swiftly ahead while some of us are still sloth-like, sluggishly lagging behind.
Can you believe we have already cruised well into the first month of a brand new year? Woo-Hoo!!! Christmas break is over, decorations have been tucked away, New Year’s celebrations have come and gone, kids are back to school and regular routines are back in order. And…all of the invigorating hopes and dreams of becoming “a better you” have begun!
Now, with that said, can I ask? How’s that working for ya?
Some of us are on a successful path with our new year resolution goals and yet some others have already failed on day one. Why is that? Let’s dig a little deeper.
What do you first think of when you first hear the word January? Some would say: time for a fresh start, time for a new beginning, time for new resolutions, time for change.
January cheers on opportunity to make a big turn. The turn of a new year offers a natural inclination towards wanting to become better in all areas of life. Spiritually, physically, emotionally and the list goes on…a better wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, co-worker, grandmother, business woman, entrepreneur, leader, pastor’s wife or whatever it may be that leads to…an overall better you!
January’s rhythm becomes an extension of a gentle, natural, soul-whispering invitation; an alluring invitation reminding us it is okay to embrace the idea that it is never too late to dream again and embark upon a journey of change. Change, not only for our good, but also for the benefit of all those around us.
...it is never too late to dream again and embark upon a journey of change.
The mark of a new year continues to tug on all of our pondering thoughts that have remained dormant, buried deep within, to burst forth and come alive into full bloom!
Swirling ideas, dreams for change have been marinating in the breeding ground of creativity as we are finalizing our resolve for new resolutions, new beginnings, fresh starts and high hopes of making some significant changes in our lives. So…how do we go about making those significant changes?
How do we discover our dreams and see them come to full fruition?
A perfect place to begin is by acknowledging the One who places those dreams within our hearts. Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.”
Here are some practical ways to get us in good position.
Intensify alone time with God. “Be still and know that I am God.” (Ps 46:10)
Carve time out to just be still. Be quiet long enough to sit yourself in His presence with no rush. While it sounds so simple, it is so difficult at times with the busyness of life. But it is so crucial to spend quiet time with the Dream Giver!
Identify your gifts and talents. “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose.” (Phil 2:13)
Dreams are discovered when gifts and talents are uncovered. What do I have a natural inclination to do? How do my natural God-given talents and abilities work into my dream?
Intentionally review your life experiences. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
How can my healed hurts help others? How can God use me and my story for His glory?
Immerse yourself in the process. “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.” (Hab 2:2)
Begin by writing down your personal mission and vision statements. Write down your personal goals and what you will need to do to be able to achieve them.
Imagine the final outcome. “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
I have always loved this verse. His light is enough for us to see our own feet, one step at a time, as He leads us on the path that we cannot yet fully see. It’s a faith walk! Imagine if you begin to take those baby steps today…what tomorrow and the next day will begin to look like.
I remember a preacher once saying, “Small doors can lead into big rooms”. Despise not the day of small beginnings.
“Small doors can lead into big rooms.”
A little over 18 years ago at the young age of 29, I was diagnosed with breast cancer that spread to my lymph nodes. Cancer diagnosis came while raising our 17-months-old baby girl and serving with my husband in a full time thriving youth ministry. Life was exciting and grand! With undergoing all chemo treatments available (surgery, chemo, radiation and meds for five years), we were still facing uncertainty as to whether or not I would survive. Dreams of having any more children were crushed as we were told we could have no more babies. Life certainly turned upside down and inside out!
In those months, and even years throughout my battle with cancer, I found myself many times sitting still in His presence and would hear His reassuring whispers saying, ”Fear not, I am with you”. Many nights the terror was so overwhelming my body would literally shake. Dear friends had posted the scripture “You shall not die, but live to declare the works of the Lord” (Psalm 118:17) at the foot of my bed and when I would wake up trembling with fear, I could see those words clearly by the moonlight. Choosing, sometimes minute by minute, to put my faith over my fear and focusing on His word over statistics is the only place I found peace.
But I’m so thankful to be able to stand here years later, healed and whole. Ten years after the initial diagnosis, God decided to throw us the biggest shock surprise party ever! At age 39, I became pregnant with our second baby girl and, for ten weeks, didn’t even realize it! Although I thought the “dream” of having another baby was taken away from me, the Lord brought it back to life in His way, His timing. And I learned that it is okay to keep dreaming again. He is faithful and trustworthy, especially when we may be heartbroken and don’t understand.
Recently I have begun feeling an even greater tug to share “Jewels from my Journey” through breast cancer to help encourage and inspire others in the battle as well. Pray for me as I pray for you that God will continue to initiate and inspire dreams within each of us that can change the world!
As we embrace this brand new year and all it has to offer, let’s do so with joy, knowing that we are never alone. We can do all things through the power of Christ who strengthens us.
"A BETTER YOU: Dream Again" is ENTRY TWO of Sanctuary's January blog series, A Better You. Missed last week? Read ENTRY ONE, The Other Side of a Better Choice. Then, join us next Monday for ENTRY THREE.
Liz Allman and her husband, Dave, met at Southeastern University and married in 1990. They started out in full-time youth ministry and currently serve as Lead Pastors in Gainesville, GA at Lifepoint Church. Liz recently began blogging at The Jeweled Messenger on Facebook, sharing "Jewels from My Journey"-- lessons she learned throughout her battle with breast cancer.