2017 began effortlessly and without much fanfare in my house. Family joined the celebration but many were already headed home before the new year arrived. None of us stayed awake until the clock struck midnight. A new year marks a new beginning, a fresh slate, a do over, an opportunity for endless possibilities. Everything looks rosy and positive vibes run high. But how do you start a new year in a way that you don’t fizzle out when February arrives?
A thought has been swirling around for the last few months and it revolves around perseverance. I banter back and forth with myself and wonder if you start off strong in the new year, how do you keep the momentum going? How do you make a beginning the best it can possibly be?
I think of the number of people who begin their year by making resolutions-goals galore. The list is endless and the statistics of how many make it past the first month with their resolutions still intact is staggeringly low. The beginning quickly becomes the end because perseverance is lacking and motivation runs dry.
In Hebrews, we are called to run our race with perseverance.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1-2
So how do we start off strong and keep the momentum going throughout the year? How do we take a beginning and turn it into a middle and end with as much enthusiasm as we began?
I am not going to pretend I have the answers or any answers for that matter. What I know is that we are not asked to push ourselves so hard that we burn out within a few months or even weeks. God called Israel and that same call is the one He has for us.
And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good? Deuteronomy 10:12-13
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He wants our best but not our burnout. God calls us to consistent obedience, endless faith and intentional time with Him. He desires balance and harmony for our lives. So while we should choose to give our best everyday, God also beckons us to…
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
This year I am looking for balance coupled with a perseverance that takes me well past February. I want to take this beginning and honor God in first steps that lead me to a strong middle and end. The wisest words I heard this year are from my son, Nicholas. As He preached last Sunday, he challenged us to end 2017 better than we ended 2016. This is a goal I can attain, what about you?
Here’s to beginning strong and ending better than we started!