By Linda Santavicca
A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way? (Proverbs 20:24)
For me, every New Year is an opportunity to achieve new goals and carry out ones still pending. Unfortunately, like resolutions, my goal-setting approach often fails due to a stream of distractions, which was the chaotic scenario for me in 2016. Intent to not replicate another busy year, I decided to take the first few weeks of January to prioritize my calendar.
First, I did what Jesus did. I went to my mountain to pray, to hear His voice and get divine direction. From our time together, He placed four principles on my heart that provided me with some clarity to roll out the year and achieve His goals (not mine) for His purpose. First, I looked back to…
1.REFLECT over the past year and assess the few goals accomplished and the many left undone. After debriefing my calendar, I was amazed at how crammed it was with highlighted appointments, countless errands, lunches, dinners, theater, piano lessons, board meetings, movies, skiing, running, small group and lots of travel. Although I was no slouch, my time outran the meter but even worse, my heart and mind went off in twenty busy directions. “They are not busy; they are busybodies” (2 Thessalonians 3:11b). When we overdo, we underperform. Thus, running my rat race disqualified me from the one race that God marked out before me. After processing Luke 10:42a, “…few things are needed – or indeed only one,” I knew it was time to make changes and…
2.REVAMP my ways. I have to start making deliberate and concrete decisions to accomplish God’s plans. In addition to marriage, family and friends, my plate is piled with a plethora of activities and a calendar full of social commitments, yet not all are aligned with Gods’ plans. “The Lord knows all human plans; he knows that they are futile” (Psalm 94:11). The first change is I need to abandon my comfort zone and get out of the rut to pursue Gods’ plans. “You have made your way around this hill country long enough; now turn north” (Deuteronomy 2:3). Another adjustment is being more selective with my time, which means saying, “yes to no.” It may offend some but being available for God is first. He commands us to make it our ambition to lead a quiet life (1Thessolonians 4:11a). In order to hear God speak, I need to dial down the noise. To become a better steward, I need to give more and spend less. To make space for His greatness, I need to de-clutter the excess as reiterated from John Piper, “Our soul is stuffed with small things and there is no room for great.” Overall, I need to downsize the ‘me and mine’ to maximize God’s Kingdom. Besides revamping my ways, I need to…
3.RENEW my mind and quiet my heart. Thoughts and ideas that are not in sync with God have a way of leading me astray. “A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart” (Proverbs 21:2). God calls us to align our hearts with His for our good. He strengthens those whose hearts are fully committed to him. Not just my heart but also my mind needs to be compatible to His perspective. By resisting the pattern of the world, I will be transformed by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2). When my heart and mind are renewed, the peace from within gives me the green light to proceed toward His ordained goal, His deliberate purpose for me. And, I can….
4.RECLAIM that purpose, one that will bring Him all the glory. When I serve, utilize my gifts, wait on Him, steward my resources and give thanks and praise, I am fulfilling His purpose. And by doing so, I am pleasing Him while at the same time, living life to the fullest.
How encouraging it is to know that by following Gods’ plans, we only need to go in one direction. We can take His steps to get there with a revamped plan, a renewed heart and mind and a reclaimed purpose. Intent on pleasing Him, I am off to run the ONE race marked out before me.
Here’s to a productive and purpose-filled year!