Every time a new year rolls around, something inside of us has this urge to change. It's like an expired clock that needs new batteries. It's still the same clock, but the heart (battery) had to change. For me, the New Year has always been a time of reassessing how to become a better human being.
For the last seven years, I have spent every New Years Day, writing a letter to my future self.
I express to "her" the dreams and hopes I want her to accomplish within that year. I share advice about things she needs to change or work on. I encourage her in all the ways I know she needs. And after I am done writing. I mark this letter to be read a year from now.
As the clock chimes to the end of a year and the start of a new, I sit down to read, what my past self had to say. Often times, I find that I have grown deeper within a year, but there have been rare occassions where I felt I hadn't accomplished my goals. It is in those times, I get back to the drawing board of life and start a new game plan.
The beauty of each year is to not just look back, but to see how far we've come. We forget the little steps that it took to get to where we are, but each step was vital to move forward.
As I consider this New Year, I have decided to take the advice of striving to fail. Yes, you read that correctly. I'm pretty sure this seems like a weird concept for most because we see failure as something we should run from. But in reality in our failures is where we grow the most. When we think of the impossible daunting goals we may try to pursue, it is in the struggles that we must lean on something greater than ourselves to help us overcome our self-pity and woe. It is in the darkest moments that we must remove self.
My goal is to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit. There are nine elements to the fruit of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. All of which I know I will fail multiple times throughout the year, but with God's help, I'll strive to get better. But let's face it, human beings are complicated and relationships get messy.
So I share this quote from Happiness for Life:
"It is not wise to gather together all the unpleasant recollections of a
past life, - it's iniquities and disappointments, - to talk over them and
mourn over them until we are overwhelmed with discouragement. A
discouraged soul is filled with darkness, shutting out the light of God
from his own soul and casting a shadow upon the pathway of others."(1)
I spent a lot of time in 2018 discussing the failures of others and myself. I experienced tons of relationship issues both with family and friends. Navigating through the murky water of uncertainty and broken promises was anything, but pleasant. It was frustrating. Unfortunately, I lost a few people along the way, which breaks my heart. Even now, I think, "I want to change that. I don't want to harbor discontentment towards people." It because of this determined spirit that I yearn to cultivate and encourage others to cultivate these characteristics in a world that is often filled with so much malice. Another quote from the same book:
"If we keep uppermost in our minds the unkind and unjust acts of
others we shall find it impossible to love them as Christ has loved us;
but if our thoughts dwell upon the wondrous love and pity of Christ
for us, the same spirit will flow out to others."
So no matter your circumstance, or where you are currently; spiritually, emotionally, mentally, or financially, know that each year, each day, each moment, each second is an opportunity to change the way we think, perceive, and act towards our environment. We have all the control within our being to readjust our minds. We can make the most of each situation for good or for worse. Our brains have been designed to rewire, reconnect our synapses to help improve our way of life. The choice is ours.
Where do you want to see yourself in a year? How can you stop making the same mistakes? What do you have to do to change it? Start small. Make small significant changes each day to strive and be better. Make 2019 different. Let's cultivate the best characteristics that will make us and our world better.
1) Happiness for Life pg. 56,58