My heart full of joy, my mind running around excited for the things the new year would bring.
And as this year is drawing to a close –incredible things this year did bring – many of them in the form of lessons God taught me in my walk with Him.
Some of them easy.
Some of them hard.
But it was walking hand in hand with Christ and listening to His precious voice as He led me like a good Shepherd, taught me as a wise Teacher, provided for all my needs as a loving Father, and never left my side as my closest friend that I will be able to greet this year as a different person.
A person who has been transformed by the work God did on the potter’s wheel as He challenged her faith, renewed her mind, and changed her heart.
Each year I like to remember the ways God has worked on me.
The things He has taught me through the circumstances I went through and through convictions in His Word.
Here is my top ten for 2013:
1. God always hears my prayers even when it seems like nothing is happening. If I am not receiving my answer today it’s because He has something better planned for me tomorrow. There is always a reason for the waiting seasons in life, I need to trust that His plan and timing is better than my own and that at the right time He’ll get me exactly where I need to be – until then I need to patiently use my time wisely for His kingdom.
2. God is good but that doesn’t mean that life will always be good. If we want to become more like Christ it means we must go through the same things He went through. That includes suffering, hardships, betrayals, and temptations. It is only by going through those things that our characters are transformed, our faith is strengthened, and we become a true reflection of Christ to the world. Instead of complaining about my hardships I should merely look at them as great opportunities to grow in Christ.
3. God has given me dreams, talents, and opportunities to live my life to the fullest for His kingdom and instead of going through the motions and making excuses to put off doing things for God for another day I need to learn to step out of my comfort zone daily to fulfill God’s call upon my life. And then one day when I’m looking back I won’t regret the things I should’ve done but didn’t and I’ll be able to say I lived my life wholeheartedly for Christ.
4. Words are powerful and I need to use them wisely because they have the ability to destroy or uplift a person. One day I’ll be accountable for every word that has ever come out of my life so before I say something I need to think about how I feel if those same words were said to me. I need to think about whether or not God would approve of those words.
5. God needs to be #1 in my life, not just a Sunday morning routine. What matters more than how I worship Him with my words on Sunday is how I worship Him with my actions and my life every single day in between. He doesn’t want me to live a mediocre halfhearted life but a life that is wholeheartedly devoted to Him. He wants me not to just talk the talk of faith, but actually walk with Him by faith every single day, and unless I live my life out in faith with my actions then my words are meaningless to Him.
6. I need to live in the present, not in the mistakes or pain of my past or the hopes and dreams for my future. All I get to work with is today and if all I am thinking about is what I could have done differently yesterday and what I want to do tomorrow then I’ll waste the moment I have right in front of me. The past is a good place to reflect on. Learn from and grow from, but it’s not a place to live in. I need to stop looking in the rearview mirror and start looking ahead with Christ. I can’t change what’s behind me, but I can make a difference about what lies ahead so I need to focus on my present and future with Him.
7. I need to stop worrying about what people think about me and care more about what God thinks. In the end I will not be judged by how I measured up according to their standards or where I stood with them but how I measure by Christ’s standards and where I stood with Him. As long as I have God’s approval I don’t need to waste time thinking about how I may get everyone else’s because it doesn’t really matter.
8. I can’t control all the things that will happen in my life. The circumstances I will face. The people that will walk in or walk out. The changes that may occur. But there are many things that I do control. Like how I react to situations whether they are good or bad. What choices I make to move ahead or stay behind – and ultimately how my life will end and what legacy I will leave behind. Instead of worrying about what I can’t control I need to focus on making right choices every day with Christ that will not only be good for my future – but will also be meaningful for His kingdom in eternity.
9. We all have a story. We all faced tragedies. We all have things from the past we’d rather forget. But often times it is those hardships that God wants to use for His kingdom. It is those things that we want to hide that He wants to recover, redeem, and use to encourage others who are walking through the same struggle in life. He wants us to turn our pain into someone else’s hope by being bold enough to share our story, our battles, and our hurt no matter how hard it may be. And in doing so we will draw not only ourselves but also others even closer to Him.
10. God doesn’t want me to get too comfortable inside the four walls of my church. He wants me to go outside and reach out to those who are broken, lost, hopeless, and need. He wants me to be His hands and feet to the world around me. He wants me to love and care for people the same way that He would if He was still here. And even though I’m not Mother Theresa or a big name preacher I can do my part to make a difference in the lives of the people around me. My mission field is not in Africa or India but right here in America and I need to do what I can to spread God’s truth, hope, and love to the hurting people right next to me.
…and that’s my list!
Please feel free to share what God’s been teaching you this year as well! I’d love to know what kind of work He’s been doing on your heart these past few months.
Also – I am going to take a (much-needed) break from blogging until the beginning of next year but although I won’t be on here I will still be updating my facebook page with what God puts on my heart so you are more then welcome to browse around there.
And I want to remind you that if you have any prayer needs within the next few weeks I would love to lift you up in prayer. Feel free to email me and let me know what’s going on so that I know how to pray for you. 🙂
I hope you all have a wonderful, peaceful, and memorable Christmas and New Year. May God continue to bless you, encourage you and strengthen you as you walk with Him.
Love you all and looking forward to hearing from you! Be blessed! -Anna… ♥