January 11, 2018
New Year's Questions and Goals - Carol Harrison
As each year draws to a close, I take time to pause and reflect on what my life journey has been like during the past twelve months. Then I take time to look ahead into the new year full of possibilities to fill the days and weeks to come. Although I do not make New Year's resolutions, I like to prayerfully set some goals for writing as well as other areas of my life.
Several weeks before Christmas 2017 our pastor preached from the book of Haggai. He ended the message with several questions for each of us to consider and pray diligently about, as he challenged us to apply the prophet's words to our own lives. The questions fit with my reflections and the theme of this month's blog posts about goals, faith and listening to God's direction in my life.
The questions made me take time to think, to repent and to ask God to help me move forward. I share them with you as you begin a new year seeking to follow the Lord's leading.
1. What is God calling me to do before the Lord returns? I know that God has commanded each of his followers to go into all the world and spread the good news of the gospel, teaching people, making disciples and living a life that lets others know they have been with Jesus. But what should that look like in my life and in yours for God has uniquely gifted each of us. As writers we can write the story of what God has and is doing.
2. Have you started a project - or more than one- but not finished it? Oh how this question pricked my conscience for I have put several things on hold, becoming a master of procrastination, able to justify how the time is not right to move ahead. God had stern words for his people who thought the time to work on rebuilding the temple was not right even while they found time to build and beautify their own houses. God's words were to go and do not stay stuck in a rut. I have felt God leading me to share some stories from my life about how God has worked in amazing ways. God has shown me through scriptures and with words of encouragement, from others, that it is time to write them down. I started. I got permission from several other people to include their stories as well. I stopped working on it with excuses of busyness, of family who needed care, and mostly because I found other things to work on - good things but not necessarily what God wanted done at that time. The more this question caused me to be truthful with myself and with God, I realized I had fallen prey to Satan's tactic of instilling fear which then began to hold me captive.
3. Am I discouraged in any way? A resounding yes sounded from the depths of my heart and mind. Yet most people never imagine how discouraged I feel since I answer their questions with the standard, "I'm fine." and hide behind a mask of pretending life is all good. Confidence drains as fear increases with each dart of the enemy. The negative questions of "What makes you think you should write these stories or anything for that matter?" and "Who do you think you are?" echo in my mind even when I try and paste a smile on my face.
I realized that as I honestly answered these questions that fear, procrastination, discouragement and a lack of confidence were never God's choice for me. As I read the Scriptures and listened to the sermon I needed to simply give everything to God and remember His words to the children of Israel and to each of us today, to be strong and remember that He is with us.
I also feel strongly that these questions should be relegated to a year end reflection or a time of setting new goals. Instead I think they warrant revisiting, in a quiet time with God, repeatedly to make sure my goals continue to be in line with His priorities. I pray that I will have a heart to do God's will, believe His promises and trust that the words he gives will encourage others, open a dialogue and help them know that Jesus is the Way to God.
Now I need to go and write some stories that show, through events in my life and in others, that the God of the Bible is still God today.
Carol is passionate about mentoring people of all ages and abilities to help them find their voice, reach their fullest potential, and to be encouraged to find a glimmer of hope. She makes her home in Saskatoon, SK. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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