If you find yourself in a hole and want to get out; you must stop digging. If you are going in the wrong direction and want to go the right way, you must stop, turn around and go in the opposite direction.
Some thoughts for the new year are universally applicable no matter your situation or circumstance.
As you cross over the threshold into a new year, the first thing you must admit--doing the same things over and again will not achieve a different result. In order to change the outcomes of our lives we must be willing to adopt and act with a new attitude, to do things differently with different people in different places. The first day of the year was a good place to start. A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step and you must begin somewhere.
I understand and appreciate that it is not easy to turn a life around that is messed up, complicated and out of whack. It is akin to steering a massive ocean liner. You just don’t turn it on a dime. Habits are hard to break and one can become accustomed and comfortable with the familiar. You must plan, prepare, do it very carefully, step gingerly or there will be a disaster. It is a daunting task and will involve a lot of blood, sweat, work and tears.
Nevertheless, what choice do you have?
Alas! You are faced with a dilemma.
You have only one life to live.
If not you, who?
If not now, when?
Life is not going to wait until you get your act together.
On the sound stage of life, there is no more time to verify the equipment or perform “mic” checks.
That time is long gone, so you must develop a sense of urgency, and “break ground” today.
As you venture out into this brave new horizon,on a quest to a strange and unfamiliar place, here are ten things you must include as you rewrite the script of your life.
You must acknowledge that you are responsible for a lot in your life. While circumstances and conditions may have influenced your actions, the final approval to participate in your life was and still is in your own hands.
If you have sinned and fallen short of your divine purpose, you must face yourself and own up to your shortcomings and weaknesses.
If you persist in blaming other people and conditions for your failures and missteps, there is no point in going any further because no one, not even God, can help you, since you are faultless.
9. Write it down.
There is something cold, calculating and convicting about the written word. It can be used as evidence for or against you. It is unnerving and intimidating. No wonder crooks and the weak who love to blame other people for their misfortunes, detest any kind of documentation. Mouths can say anything, talk is cheap and they are always susceptible to be denied or misinterpreted. If is not written, it is not real.
Take the time to record your desires, your dreams, your goals, your visions and share them, if possible or feasible, with a trusted friend or confidant.
It will hold your feet to the fire,keep you accountable, testify of your commitment to change, and demonstrate to you and the world that you are serious about turning this thing around.
8. Go into the house of the Lord.
You should always be glad when someone invites you to the House of God. Pay no attention to sinners, non-believers and jaded people who insist that only hypocrites, lustful pastors and pedophile priests occupy the halls of the church.
There are still many good, worthy, upstanding, kind and generous people in assemblies all over this country. It is not realistic to say or consider that only inept, simple0minded, naïve lambs, seduced by corrupt shepherds, go to church. It is undeniable that if you are ever going to find any justice, mercy, love and forgiveness, the corridors of the house of the Lord are your best shot.
7. Find a friend, companion or life partner.
It is not good for a man to be left alone. People who are alone are liable to go off the deep end of life. There is nobody to share your thoughts or emotions with or offer encouragement to you when you are depressed.
If you become sick there will be no helping or healing hand nearby. If you fall into a ditch, you may be stuck with no outstretched hand to lift you up. Man is not omnipotent and everybody will need help sooner or later.
You must lay aside every weight which will so easily beset you and run with patience the race that is before you. Rome was not built in a day and you will not accomplish everything overnight. It took time for you to get into this mess. It will take time for you to get out of it. Repair is always more costly and time consuming than prevention. Live one day at a time, endeavoring daily to improve your life or situation,even if just by a miniscule amount.
You will be pleasantly surprised and shocked how little consistent changes stacked atop each other will eventually morph into big differences. The game plan is as follows patience coupled with persistence will always result in victory. Rest awhile if you must,but do not linger long in the same place. You do not give up, give out or give in.
5. Success is possible.
Other people have done it and so can you. History has taught us that people with more challenging circumstances and far less resources have achieved success. So it is not impossible or unreasonable to expect the same.
Futhermore, God who loves you and gave himself for you, promises if you follow his will, you will achieve 30 fold, 60 fold or 100 fold, not only here, but in the life to come.
Disregard the naysayers, mockers and scorners who ridicule you as you set out on this great adventure.
They are more angry with themselves than you because deep down they understand they could do the same thing, if only they would develop the guts, gumption and moxie to arise and make it happen. Every morning when you arise, after giving thanks to God for the day, greet the sunrise with the proclamation,”I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
4. Love thy neighbor.
Always remember that other people have dreams, goals and desires. You do not trample on the other guy on your ascent to the top. God loves them, too. He died for them as well. He wants the very best for them also.
As you ascend the ladder of success, stop, turn around and pull someone else up with you. Yes! You are your brother’s keeper and no amount of aid to the other guy is too much when you consider what Jesus has done for you. As you make friends in high places, do not forget to maintain friends in low places, so if you are coming or going, rising or falling, there is always somebody in place to break your fall.
Retain your sense of empathy. People never forget how you made them feel. Never burn all your bridges. You will be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river.
You must believe in yourself, the God who created you and called you a man or woman. You must believe that you are destined to be fruitful, have abundant life, to possess an overflowing cup,to multiply and subdue the earth. You were meant to be the head and not the tail, to be above only and not beneath.
You are unique, the only creature that is capable of changing his environment, his condition, his circumstances and his life. You must believe in the product, (the synergy of you and God) even though you cannot see the process (redemption and renewal).
Hope is the anchor of the soul. Hope that is dead or deferred will make the heart sick. Without hope, man will only survive for a very short time. You must keep hope alive. Hope is the essential, indispensable fuel in the engine of your soul, that enables you to stir yourself and move from day to day. Even in the most barren and desperate of circumstances, hope must spring eternal.
The most perfect being in the universe is God. He is the ultimate example in everything. To become the best and reach your highest potential, you must become like God. It is said to err is human but to forgive is divine. He warns all of us,If you do not forgive men, and their trespasses you will not be forgiven.
To remain unforgiving and unforgiven means you are shackled to the past. If you are shackled to the past, it means that you cannot live and concentrate on the present, which makes you, for all intents and purposes, dead. The past is dead, so let the dead bury the dead. Since you are not dead,nor wish to be so, you cannot live in the graveyard of the past.
No matter how difficult it is, whatever it takes, with the help of God, you must forgive, release, sever all ties with yesterday and move forward.
You must focus all of your energies and attention on today to ensure that there will be a better and brighter tomorrow.
V. Knowles is a husband, father and prison minister with an interest in penning issues that serve to uplift mankind. He melds his love for Classic literature, The Bible and pop culture - as sordid as it may be - into highly relatable columns of truth, faith and justice. Hence the name: Just Thinking. If he's not buried in a book or penning his next column, you may find him pinned to his sectional watching a good old Country and Western flick.