Well, it’s officially 2016! Happy New Year World!
Did you make your New Year resolutions? Did you set new and exciting and achievable and challenging goals?
If you did, let me ask you this: why did you make them?
If you made those resolutions to impress somebody, or for someone else’s expectations, just stop right there because surprise! That’s ultimately not what is going to motivate you.
Well, “no duh”, right? But actually… don’t we all seem to be motivated because of other people to at least to some degree?
For 2016 I have a radical challenge for you: Let God be your source of inspiration. Look to Him for ideas and don’t make this next year about you and what others’ think of you, but instead shift your focus to others and on to bigger ideas.
Bigger ideas such as not being as consumed with yourself and what others think of you. (GUILTY)
Bigger ideas such as taking those few minutes to really listen to a friend (or anyone!) when you’re tired or preoccupied with your own little things (such as wanting to lie in your soft bed with your earbuds in listening to some good ol’ T-swift and musing over the daily grind of your own life). (GUILTY AGAIN)
Bigger ideas such as taking a break from social media in order to put your time towards more fulfilling and productive means. (I admit, I’m kinda being a hypocrite here considering I’m posting this on a source of social media; however, like I said it’s a goal of mine as well. And personal insight: It’s funny, but the days I don’t constantly check my Facebook, Instagram, etc. are the days when I feel most fulfilled and accomplished. This summer when I was working at camp there would be times when I couldn’t check my social media for weeks. And I didn’t miss it one bit. )
But back to what I was saying. Some radical ideas, ehh? Hah – not really. Then why are some of these things so difficult to put into action?
I think we all know the answer to that question. And I’m going to voice this somewhat unpleasant but real truth: as a generation growing up in an American culture that is obsessed with the individual and image, we are self-obsessed. We generally always put ourselves first, except for the few true selfless saints who are misfits in our selfish world and the rare occasion when we’re feeling noble and do the difficult thing.
But what would Jesus do? Yes, it’s become a cliché to say this. But actually, start thinking to yourself, how would He actually react in response to today’s world and every day encounters? What would He do? How would He live in America’s technological individualized society? How would He respond and look to God for inspiration?
Hmm. Just some things to think about.
To sum things up, let me just ask you a few more questions to keep your thoughts churning:
What is going to make this coming year different from last?
How are you going to grow? What is going to cause this growth?
What are you going to do to cause this growth?
And finally, how are you actively going to make God a part of your daily life? What is going to remind you of Him throughout your day? People? Journaling? Reading? Singing? It could be anything.
Ok, I’m actually summing things up now.
Make this year the year you kill yourself making others feel joy, acceptance, and love. There’s no greater feeling than knowing you’ve made someone’s day just a little brighter.
Look for opportunities to go outside your comfort zone and really challenge yourself to experience growth and satisfaction.
And finally (but not least importantly), seek God in everyday encounters in order to find true fulfillment and love.
These three things are a challenge for all of us and yes, are so much easier said than done I know. But let me leave you with a quote and a couple bible verses for encouragement:
Here's to a year of challenge, God, and growth! Happy 2016!
currently lives in Fargo, North Dakota where she works remotely as a Policy and Communication Manager for the First Lady of North Dakota. Photography and writing are a passion that help her better appreciate the details of the world.