As I write this, it is the last day of a very interesting year for the Sargent household. 2021 presented so many different elements, some good, some not so good. However, as we are all aware – that is the language of life. The true challenge is always in how we respond during these moments of uncertainty, flux and transition that often come up in our lives. Our response is 99.99% of the solution to whether or not we step forward with new understanding or wallow in the mire of our mistakes, wounds caused by others, frustrations or obstacles.
Choices matter! How we choose to look at what has transpired in our past, often determines where we will go in our future. I wish I could write this blog post in a way that would reveal to you that everything will get better, but I can’t because I have no idea if that will happen, in your life or in mine. So, I step back, readjust my focus and move forward because that is what God designed us to do. The bible tells us that the steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord and if that is true, and I believe it is, then I must constantly be stepping into the future. Steps can’t be ordered if they are never taken!
This past year may have brought you much pain and uncertainty. Welcome aboard the ship called LIFE. Now before you run me out of town, in no way am I trying to diminish your experience or pain or hurt or wounds! I am simply saying it is part of life and your perspective of what has happened to you or around you, determines where your end up when it is all said and done.
The wisest man that ever lived, a king by the name of Solomon, said something very interesting concerning the end of things. Allow me to quote his take:
Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spiritECC 7:8
I think Solomon was on to something! So very often we take opportunity at the end of a year to discuss the importance of what it means to step into a NEW YEAR. For some, much energy is spent crafting resolutions that will be forgotten in a matter of a few short weeks or days. Though all that has its place and it is vital, we must consider the opportunity and possibilities of not only what a NEW YEAR may bring into our lives, but how we look at the end of a thing!
Think of it this way – You made it! You got through it! You overcame the obstacles this past year brought into your life!
Allow me to go to the history books for a moment to attempt to explain this in a deeper way:
In the early 1500s, when Hernan Cortes decided to lead an expedition into Mexica to capture its vast treasure, he came up with a plan.
When he told the Spanish governor of Cuba his strategy, the governor got so excited that he gave him 11 ships and 700 men. Little did the governor know that Cortes had failed to tell him the entire plan.
After months of sailing, the 11 ships landed at Veracruz in the spring of 1519. As soon as the men unloaded the ships, Cortes instituted the rest of his plan. He ran the ships aground and dismantled them! Like it or not, they were now committed. By disassembling the ships, Cortes eliminated the options. He didn’t know what he’d encounter on his expeditions to the interior. He didn’t know the strength of the people he’d be fighting. But he did know this: There were no escape routes for his men. If the fighting got too fierce, or the expedition got too exhausting, there’s be no talk of going back to Veracruz and sailing home. In one fell swoop Cortes had eliminated their options and created an intensely powerful motivation to succeed.
Cortes understood something that I think we all need to understand – in order to reach the end and succeed he would have to eliminate an escape route –
If truth be told, so often we never see the end of a thing because we check out early or give ourselves the opportunity to retreat from the challenge in front of us.
I recently read something that explained Solomon’s words in a very unique manner:
“Solomon begins this chapter by evaluating six of life’s everyday experiences. He then tells us what is better—more profitable—to our lives in these areas. In many aspects, life can be reduced to an unending series of choices. Every day we make literally hundreds, even thousands, of decisions. The majority of life’s decisions are not necessarily choices between right and wrong or good and bad. Rather, they are choices between what is good and what is best. A life of excellence is characterized by choosing what is best, whereas a life of mediocrity is characterized by choosing the good over the best.”
So often our choices determine our direction and if we are not careful, we will choose based on feeling and emotion instead of faith and trust in God. It is easy to quit when you are tired, worn out, fed up with the struggle, but the bible tells us – HE WHO ENDURES TO THE END…..
As we look to a New Year, let us do so by examining where we have been, the lessons we may have learned along the way and remember – it is ok to end one season so that you can step into something NEW.
Never disregard where you HAVE been because where you have been is the breeding grounds for where you ARE GOING! The end of a thing brings perspective and vision, focus and understanding! You are better because of where YOU HAVE BEEN and WHERE YOU ARE GOING will depend on what you pick up at the END OF A THING!
Happy New Year! Go Forward….