How to Face the New Year with Confidence

Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy. ~Norman Vincent Peale

Most of us were not shocked when the world did not end in mid-December. Mayan calendar aside, we must continue to live our lives to the fullest, and make meaningful contributions to the world around us. Sometimes, however, we wonder if anything we do really matters.

The answer to the great question, “Why am I here?” is always – “To be a blessing”. The gifts and talents we share with those around us (our world of influence), the compassion we show and the contributions we make (in time, effort or dollars) to help others is our Divine purpose. Jesus said it this way: A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another (John 13:34). Love is not a feeling; it is an act of will, a purposeful demonstration of compassion.

The next question usually is, “How do I do that? I’m not special, and I don’t have any special gifts or talents that I know of. I’m just me.” So not true. You are valuable, treasured by God and those people who receive the blessing of your time, attention and support. Meaningful contributions to another person’s life can be as simple as a smile or a thank you.

As we begin another year, many of us make resolutions with the idea that we need to improve in some way. Within weeks, however, the vision is lost and resolutions are forgotten. We plod on, wondering why nothing ever changes. Some ask, “Is change even possible?” The answer, of course, is YES. Here are five steps to help you face the coming year with confidence and find inspiration for real change.

Remember. Remember the days of old, (Deut. 32:7). Remember his marvelous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth; (I Chron. 16:12) If you keep a journal (which I highly recommend), read entries from the past year or more. It’s always encouraging to know how far you’ve come, all the blessings and victories that you’ve forgotten in the day-to-day busyness of life.

There is great truth in the adage, “with age comes wisdom”. The more decades we survive, the more we realize that most of the drama and stress was unnecessary. For the most part, the things we worried about never happened … or had significantly less impact than we imagined. We are stronger than we think we are. Looking back is a great perspective to help us realize how far we’ve come and how much we’ve accomplished. It builds confidence for the future.

Be Thankful. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name (Ps. 100:4). Gratitude is powerful. Offerings in the Bible were to be made ‘with thanksgiving’. Don’t just plunk your money in the bucket at church. Thank Him that you have something to give.

Gratitude is purposeful and active. Gratitude and giving open the windows of heaven (Mal. 3:10). And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him (I John 5:14-15).

Tell God how much you appreciate His hand on your life. No matter how difficult the past months or years may have been, you are still here. Look for the victories and blessings, and be grateful.

Tell the people around you how much you appreciate them. Ramp up your gratitude. Expressions of thankfulness are an easy way to be a blessing to those around us. We may never know how impactful our words and expressions of gratitude are. It doesn’t matter. God knows. Be His instrument of love.

Imagine. God is Creator, the Master Dreamer. And He created us in His image. He puts dreams, visions of possibilities, inside us, just waiting to come forth. Ask yourself:

  • What does my perfect life look like?
  • Where do I live?
  • How do I spend my time?
  • What do I do to bless those around me?
  • How does it feel to live this life?

Create a vision of your perfect life, all the things you would include to make it your personal ‘heaven on earth’. Imagine it in living color, all the sights, sounds, scents and feelings, as if it is already reality. The mind thinks in images not words. The more vivid your vision, the greater your opportunity for fulfillment.

God wants to give us the desires of our heart (Ps. 37:4). After all, He put those desires inside us. (Did you know, He created beaches and sunshine just for me? He knew I’d like them!) Like any parent, He wants to give us every good gift (James 1:17). Use your creative capacity to connect with Divine power. He gave you an imagination for that purpose! Everything begins with a thought.

Write it down. Write the vision; make it plain upon [tablets] that he may run that reads it (Hab. 2:2). Take some time to write your vision, expounding on the details. Even better, create a vision board or scrapbook of your desires. Give your imagination and subconscious something to focus on, a vision to run with.

Expand on it. The power of image – imagination – created in written words or pictures, is invaluable. Research proves that written goals and dreams have a far greater rate of accomplishment than ‘wishful thinking’ or inarticulate maybe’s.

Maybe someday I’ll write a book.

                Maybe someday I’ll join the gym.

                Maybe someday I’ll run a marathon.

                Maybe someday …

Those statements have no power. Write your vision as an affirmation, positive, present tense. Look at it often and visualize the final result. Pretend you’re already there. Emotional involvement is critical. Get excited about the possibilities!

Count the cost. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— (Luke 14:28). Let me phrase that a bit differently lest you misunderstand.

  • What steps can you take right now that will head you in the direction of your dreams?
  • What goals can you set for yourself – in baby steps if necessary – that contribute to your future vision?
  • What do you need to learn, do, or become to be ready to step into your ‘heaven on earth’?

It’s God’s part to perform miracles, to place divine connections and opportunities in your path. It’s our part to be ready when they come. It’s our part to stand in faith and prayer, expecting the vision to come to pass. That’s what faith is – expectation, firm belief that what we pray for, we will receive. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him (Heb.11:6).

No matter what you want to see happen in your life – whether it’s a clean closet, debt-free, physically fit, or a completely new career or lifestyle – it starts somewhere. … It starts where you are right now. It doesn’t matter how you got where you are. What matters is how you move forward.

Face the coming year with expectations (vision) and plans (goals) to live your dream. Activate the 1% Principle. Just do 1% more today than you did yesterday to move toward your vision. 1%. One percent of 24 hours is less than 15 minutes. Are you willing to spend 15 minutes a day visualizing and working toward your perfect life?

  • 1% – add one fruit into your daily diet
  • 1% – save every $5 bill (or $1 if that’s all you can envision) you get back in change
  • 1% – walk up one more flight of stairs than you normally do
  • 1% – invest 15 minutes in research or reading to expand your thinking and knowledge

You get the idea. As you start to put consistent effort into your vision, you will connect with God’s Divine power and favor. You will be able to say with confidence, “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me” (Ps. 138:8).  “He gives me the desires of my heart.”

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