Whenever we wind up one phase of life and begin a new one, it’s a good time to reflect, evaluate, and plan for the future. I usually do this every year about this time. As we begin a new millennium I think it is an especially good time to evaluate our personal progress in life and see what course corrections we might need to make. If you should choose to do that, I have two suggestions.
First, I would suggest that you forget some things. I suggest you forget the hurts of the past. Each of us have experienced injury by others. If we don't forgive and, to the best of our ability, forget those injuries, they live on and continue to injure us. It is as if every day we pick up the same heavy bag of disappointments, hurts, and injuries, and drag them into the future with us. We keep them alive by caring for and nurturing them daily. Unless we deal with, and then forget the injuries of the past, we run the risk of allowing them to poison our future.
Another major source of unhappiness is focusing on the things we want in our life, but don't have. Perhaps it is a relationship that isn't all we would like it to be. Or maybe you feel you aren't getting the recognition you deserve at work or at home. Whenever we allow ourselves to be consumed by things we don't have, we are allowing ourselves to be controlled by things that don't exist. So my best advice for a new start in the new millennium is to forget the hurts, failures, and deficits of the past.
My second suggestion is that you remember. Remember all the blessings you do have. Think of the good things that have happened. Each of us have had times in our lives when the Lord has answered prayer. Maybe you, or a loved one was sick and the Lord sent healing in response to prayer. Perhaps your life was spared in an accident when you could have been killed. Remember these types of things.
Remember also your successes. You might not consider yourself a successful person, but the reality is that each of us have been successful at something. It may not be a major thing. Most things aren’t. But the important thing is to remember that you have had success in the past, and to realize that you will experience success in the future.
When you count your blessings and recall your successes, you actually put yourself in a better position to receive more of what you want in life. The starting point for receiving more is being grateful for what you already have.
Paul’s advice to the Philippians would be good for us to take to heart as we begin the year 2000: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things… And the God of peace will be with you” (Phil. 4:8-9). I wish for you happiness, success, and the peace of God in the year ahead.