Happy New Year!!!
I hope you enjoyed some quality time with family and friends. Our family joined some friends last night and brought in the New Year with games, laughter, love, and encouragement. We made it to midnight! But we had our fair share of incoherent sentences and slurred words. No alcohol was involved, haha.
Today, I wanted to remind you of what you already know in hope that your New Year starts off on the right path. I wanted to remind you to stand firm against your greatest enemy.
What is our greatest enemy in 2019?
This year, I wanted to bring in 2019 with one goal—to remember. But this concept didn’t just come to mind one day. It kept ringing in my ear for months; this notion that if I want to accomplish anything in life, I must remember to remember.
Sounds weird, right?
However, I looked through scripture for some clarity and discovered there’s a profound emphasis on remembering and a stern admonishment against forgetfulness.
In the New Year, I’m aiming to leave behind the following habits. Will you join me?
Habits to Leave Behind in 2019
1. Forgetting to set the right goals.
Losing weight and starting a business are great goals. But how many of us take the time to set the right goals? Setting the right goals will help us accomplish anything our heart desires.
And what are the right goals?
Let’s start with “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33).
And here are a few others!
“Above all else, let love be your highest goal! But you should also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives…” (1 Corinthians 14:1).
“Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands… Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12).
“So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him” (2 Corinthians 5:9).
2. Forgetting to write down your goals.
So many people make declarations, but few of us take the time to actually write them down. What difference does it make?
We will forget them!
Documenting our goals on paper is the first step to achieving them. It makes them official and holds us accountable to them.
After Israel defeated the Amalekites, the Lord instructed Moses:
“Write this down on a scroll as a permanent reminder, and read it aloud to Joshua: I will erase the memory of Amalek from under heaven” (Exodus 17:14).
This verse serves as a reminder that documenting things in writing ensures it is never forgotten. So, let’s take it a step further and hang those goals up somewhere where we’ll be sure to see them every single day and as often as possible.
3. Forgetting your commitment.
Life gets busy. So much so that sometimes we’re so busy doing life that our goals get pushed to the sidelines. One week of taking time off from pursuing a goal can catastrophically turn into one month. The next thing we know, the next year is vastly approaching and we’re wondering where those twelve months went!
We’ve forgotten our goals.
We’ve abandoned our commitment.
But, what does commitment look like? In Deuteronomy 6:7, when God made the call to Israel for wholehearted commitment to his commands, he said this:
“Repeat them again and again…”
“Talk about them often…”
“Put them everywhere that you’ll be reminded of them…”
Although he was talking about his commands, we can take these strategies for practicing commitment and apply them to our goals.
The bottom line: when something is truly important to us, we do everything in our power to commit to it.
4. Forgetting the future.
We have a bad habit of looking at the past and allowing it to dictate our direction. Let’s forget the past but remember the future because that’s where we’re headed. The future is where our goals are realized. Where our success is.
Consider this verse when Paul tells us about pressing on toward his goal:
“But I focus on one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead” (Philippians 3:12).
Proverbs 4:25 also stresses the importance of looking forward:
“Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.”
Why do these verses suggest looking forward and not to the past? Because when we live in the past, we tend to forget the future.
How bright it is!
How exciting it is!
How fruitful it is!
Remember, faith is not the substance of what we can see, but what we cannot see and what we’ve yet to see. Looking to the future strengthens our faith and focus. Looking to the past keeps us bound by it.
5. Forgetting to count your wins.
Let’s forget about how many times we’ve failed. Instead, let’s remember to count our victories. One method that helped me in the past was taking inventory on a regular basis. Every so often, I would ask myself what I did right and reflect on those things. When I started this exercise, it suddenly occurred to me how much I focused on my failures and how rarely I thought about my wins.
Consider this verse:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).
When we reflect on our failures, we start identifying ourselves as failures. Which is simply not true. Romans 8: 37 tells us we are more than conquerors! Furthermore, we must remember we are what we think. For, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).
6. Forgetting what you learned from your losses.
Mistakes really suck, but they drive us closer to our goals. They are invaluable teachers. They tell us what works and what doesn’t work.
In every mistake, every loss, every failure, there is something to be learned. We must make it a priority to learn the lesson so that we won’t repeat the mistake. When we learn the lesson, we become more effective, resilient, and wise because of it.
“For the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity” (Proverbs 24:16).
When we make mistakes this year, let’s not beat ourselves up. Instead, let’s ask, “What did I learn?” I highly suggest writing down what you’ve learned so that you never forget it.
7. Forgetting how weak you are.
Put no confidence in the flesh. If you’re on a weight loss journey and you know you’ll eat every bag of chips in your pantry before the weekend is through, it’s time to stop bringing chips into the house. If you’re on a journey to become more productive and you know you spend hours on your phone scrolling through social media every day, it’s time to get an old-school flip phone.
“For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:3).
Why shouldn’t we put confidence in the flesh? Because “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires” (Romans 8:5).
Our flesh wants what’s comfortable.
Achieving goals and reaching new heights is uncomfortable, so naturally your flesh will fight against it. The commitment required to achieve a goal hurts. The hard work, discipline, setbacks, etc. can really take a toll on us. Let’s not make it harder on ourselves. Let’s eliminate all distractions, temptations, and detours and keep our eyes on the prize!
8. Forgetting how capable you are.
Honestly, you can do it. Whatever it is. With God’s help, you’re more than capable of doing the seemingly impossible. Remember, we can do all things through Christ who strengthen us (Philippians 4:13).
“His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3).
Yes, we have everything we need. Even when it doesn’t seem like it. I’m sure most of you have heard of the story of the woman and the jar of oil in 2 Kings, chapter four.
The woman’s husband died, left a debt behind, and now the debt collectors wanted to take her two sons and make them servants. This woman cried out to the prophet Elisha in fear, hoping he could help her, and he responded, “What do you have in your house?”
The woman replied that she had nothing except a jar of oil. The prophet then instructed her to use what she had. To go and collect empty jars from her neighbors, fill the jars with oil, sell them, and pay the debt collectors what she owed them. The woman did just that and experienced the miracle of multiplication as that one jar of oil was able to fill numerous empty jars to the brim.
She was able to pay her debt, keep her two sons, and live on the rest of the earnings.
The moral? Whatever little you think you have, use it! Whether it’s talent, resources, discipline, or passion—utilize it and watch it multiply and bring your goals to fruition.
9. Forgetting not to please people.
People-pleasing is a trap so many of us fall into. It’s easy to do in the age of social media where we’re sharing more of our highlight reels than ever before. For this reason, I know that some of us set goals to impress others, win their approval, or one-up them. But we must ask ourselves, how impressed is God by us?
Consider Paul’s words:
“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant” (Galatians 1:10).
Here’s the thing, it’s not the goal—it’s the intention of our hearts. Our goals should never be selfish but should be of benefit to others.
If you’re starting a business, what charities or causes will you support with your newfound wealth? Or will you simply live an ostentatious lifestyle?
If you’re buying a new car, who will you bless with your old car? How many people will you offer to give rides in that new car? Or will you simply boast about your new purchase on social media?
If you’re losing weight, will you share your journey with others so that they, too, can experience weight loss? Or will you simply show off your new body to your overweight friends and secretly love being thinner than them?
The best goals are those that give back to the community. Let’s leave selfish motives behind in 2019.
10. Forgetting that God is in control.
Everything is working out for your good. Even if you can’t see it at the time. No matter how many goals we set or plans we make, sometimes God takes us on a seemingly different path. If we try to fight it, we’ll just end up further away from our goals than we need to be.
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21).
Our goals are not for us, they are to achieve a kingdom purpose—to benefit the next generations to come. It may seem like it’s just weight loss, but you are setting the tone for your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc., to live a healthier lifestyle.
Therefore, that fad diet may not be working for you because God wants to introduce you to a lifestyle change that is healthy and worth imitating by those who are watching you. This concept applies to any goal we make.
Things may not happen how we want them to, but we can rest in the comfort that God is in control and knows best.
Let’s take God out of the box in 2019 and let him help us achieve our goals HIS way!
Until next time, friends…