Sunday morning's sermon got me to thinking, which is a good thing because that's what sermons should do. And since we have the best pastor in the world (I'm not a bit prejudiced, even though I'm married to him) his sermons always make me think. But this past Sunday he challenged us to look back at the resolutions we made at the beginning of 2009. And then he asked us how we did. Ouch.
So how did you do? Did you accomplish the things you set out to accomplish this year? I did well on some. On others? Not so much. As I looked over 2009, I see both successes and failures. Not everything about this year turned out the way I wanted it to. But I can't change anything about that now. There are only a few things I can do with my goals for 2009.
The first is to realize that the year isn't quite over yet. As my husband said on Sunday, when you come close to the finish line in a race, you don't slow down and coast across. You reach deep within yourself and give that extra bit of effort. I've still got three days left to this year. I can't afford to let them slide by and decide to face life again in 2010. If I want a great start to next year, I've got to have a great finish to this one. I need to do my best to make these next three days count.
I also need to study this past year. What went wrong and why? What did I learn? And just as important, where have I improved? What went right this year? It would be easy to focus on all the things that didn't work, but that's not encouraging. Sure I need to learn from them. I need to see if I can find ways to improve so that those failures become successes in 2010. But I also need to take into account the things that went well. The encouragement from those things can go a long way towards helping me achieve more in 2010.
Thirdly, I need to examine my goals and resolutions from 2009. Which ones were a success and which were failures? What goals do I need to set for the new year, and how can I make sure they are accomplished by this time next year?
When I've finished analyzing the year and myself, I need to do one more thing. I need to turn to my Heavenly Father and find out what He thought of this year. Where did I fail in His eyes? And more importantly, what does He want me to accomplish in 2010? Then I need to ask Him to help me do it.
Because without Him, my efforts are nothing.
One last thing I want to encourage you to do. Put Christ at the center of 2010. No matter what you accomplish or what great things happen, you will not know true happiness or contentment unless He is the Lord of your life. My prayer for you is that, by this time next year, you're closer to the Lord than you are right now.
And that's the best way I know of to make 2010 a success.