2020: Looking Ahead

img_0984Fall is comfortably underway. The air is cooler, the leaves are colorful, and harvest-themed porch decorations abound. Football games, homecoming celebrations, and autumn festivals have added highlights to this time of year. Now, as we’ve entered November we are in that sweet little spot before our collective attention turns to the year-end holiday hustle bustle. In the time that leads up to the holiday frenzy, there is an opportunity that can help you have a new year unlike any other.

As we get closer to January 2020, the national conversation will no doubt relate the year 2020 with the measurement for visual clarity: 20/20. We can almost be certain that the year 2020 will be chock full of motivation to help you get on course and stay on course to achieve your goals. If you have not taken the time to get clear about your purpose or areas of your life that are meaningful, now is a great time to do just that.

To boost your efforts, I’d like to share five quick tips to help you prepare well and STICK to your goals in the coming year.

S- Slow Down. Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” If you are not clear on your purpose, it is highly likely that you are moving through life much faster than you should be. Slow down and, if you have to, stop. Take time to catch your breath and organize your thoughts. Make quiet time with the Lord a priority so that you can pray and not only be revived in the presence of the Lord, but also become clear on the next important steps for your life.

T- Think. Think about where you are in life and where you want to be. Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Too often we let life take over and we get cheated out of experiencing the abundance God has in store for us. It is never too late to take stock of your life and dig in to making God’s plan and purpose your reality.

I- Investigate. Once you have become clear about your purpose and have taken stock of where you are and where you want to be, it’s a good time to investigate the steps you will need to take to get there. Philippians 4:9 says “The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” There is a lot that we can learn from each other. When we are open to learning from others and making changes to succeed, it can certainly go a long way. People who are living their God-ordained purpose in life know the steps to take, the pitfalls to avoid, the resources to use, and the mindset to cultivate when it comes to following God’s unique plan. When we organize these things and take action, the results can be extraordinary.

C- Change your Calendar. This next tip is pretty radical but can have lasting results. In 2014 I was caregiving for my husband who had, by then, been enduring a health challenge for several years. I always enjoy working in the community and serving in my church, but by then, I was so stretched out that I finally had to stop, think, investigate, and ultimately change my calendar. Proverbs 16:3 says “Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established.” After taking time to pray and getting honest with myself, I rotated out of several organizations and responsibilities and made a promise that I would only serve in one community organization and serve where critically needed in church. Not only does this practice keep me from becoming overwhelmed, but it also helps me to be of good service to the organization and responsibilities that I have. I am able to focus and give intentional time to the few causes that I am working with. I can give my best to help the church and community organization do their best work for the people we serve.

K- Keep on Course. Hebrews 10:36 says “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” This encouraging scripture highlights the reward of staying the course when distractions and adversities come. We receive God’s promises. Peace of mind, an abundant life, strength, refreshing…too often, again, we fall for the devil’s tricks and miss out on these things that are available to us.

There you have it. A few tips to act on before the flurry of holiday activity begins. When we settle in to trust God deeply and keep on course with what we have learned, instead of derailing our goals by January 31st, we can greet the year 2020 with clarity and with a prepared heart and mind to STICK to God’s plan the whole year through.