Checkmate. Well plaid. Whoop ’em gingham style
Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
When you change the way you look at things – the things you look at change.
I won’t lie, if you had asked me how I felt about a month or two ago I would have told you I was more than ready for 2016 to be over.
2016 has brought many highs, I passed my degree, started a graduate job, jumped out of a plane. I was literally on top of the world – all but for a moment it seemed.
Not long after my car was stolen, my job, certain friendship groups and even my personal relationship with God didn’t quite seem to be working out. I found myself in not the happiest of places. Despite this I was always reminded to be thankful in all that I had and that which I seemed to be losing.
It is very easy and I think most of you can relate here, that when things are going well. When you are making movements in areas of your life it is oh so easy to be thankful. But how many of us can say the same when things go bad? When things don’t quite go our way.
‘Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.’ (1 Thessalonians 5:18). ‘Easier said than done’ could not ring more true with this. My goodness it is difficult – having gratitude in the face of adversity – but there is such beauty in it.
Whether you believe in God or not, I think we can all agree that we would rather be surrounded by positive people with grateful hearts; than one who is quick to complain.
If you actively try to approach life with a positive outlook you will quickly find that the things you look at change. Usually for the better too.
The next time you wake up – before you grab your phone, take a moment to say out loud the five things you are grateful for. Your life for instance – many die every day but the fact that you are alive means God still has a purpose for you.
You’ll find that small acts like this quickly cultivate a life filled with gratitude. You might even find yourself feeling more at peace.
You cannot climb up a ladder without first moving your leg. Get into the habit of doing things now!
Slouching further into the couch or pressing that snooze button one last time often leaves us behind in life. Personal progression is often slowed down or brought to a standstill where procrastination is allowed to thrive. Excellence comes with hard work.
I came to the quick realisation that if I was going to make a success of my life; the only person to make that happen was me. Anything I wanted to happen in my life was dependant on my ability, my drive and how hard I was willing to work (in Christ of course). I saw that through passing my driving test, my degree and securing my first job. The goals however do not end there.
I had been planning on making improvements in certain areas of my life – this blog being one of them (I’ll let you be the judge on how well that goes). And while thinking about what to do, parts of me almost fell into the typical ‘I’ll wait till next year, it will be my new year’s resolution – top of the prayer list, amen thank you Lord.
But I ask, why wait?
A lot of the time it is due to fear. Fear of failing, fear of not being the best or just falling flat on your face. We often try to plan things for months on end in trying to avoid this.
That is all fair and well but for how long will you plan for? It is not about how fast you go but about whether or not you are actually moving. Think about it.
Yes let us plan and prepare for the things we want to do. But do not fear stepping out in faith on that idea you’ve had or the vision you have for your life.
Most people who we look up to in society didn’t get to where they are by having all the knowledge needed at the start. They began with the little they had.
It is a work in progress – you cannot climb up a ladder without first moving your leg. It may be painful but nothing worthwhile is easy - and nothing easy is worthwhile.
Lessons from 2016
- Failure is merely an opportunity to grow
- Your attitude to a situation determines what you get from it
- Hard work pays off but it means nothing if you don’t work hard to keep it
- Not everyone is your friend
- Be comfortable being in your own company
- Less is always more
- Be honest with yourself. Sometimes it really is you – not them
- Comparison is never productive
- You are enough
- Most importantly: Knowing and finding your identity in Christ is key to growth in any area of your life
Approaching the end of a year is always a great time for self- reflection. Looking back on your success and failure allows you to assess where change is needed and to identify and appreciate the good things you are doing. It is a great habit to get in to but one we often neglect the whole year till we see a new one approaching.
Here’s to starting as you mean to go on.
What things have you learnt from 2016? Comment below on what you’ll be leaving behind and the lessons you are taking into 2017.
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