As the year draws to a close, I find myself in my home office reflecting on the swift passage of yet another year. The idea of composing a new blog post crossed my mind, but upon further consideration, I realized I had previously written on this topic. Rather than starting from scratch, I opted to revisit a post I crafted a couple of years ago and give it a refreshed perspective.
Life presents numerous challenges that frequently intersect our journey. As we approach another year, I encourage you to pause and retrospectively examine the path you’ve traversed over the past year. Pause and reflect on the path God has guided you down, recognizing the enduring presence of His mercy and grace throughout the year, as He continues to lead you forward.
Challenges, as universally acknowledged, constitute the very fabric of life. The genuine test lies in our response to the moments of uncertainty, flux, and transition that frequently emerge in our lives. How we react during these times is overwhelmingly pivotal, determining whether we progress with newfound understanding or linger in the quagmire of our mistakes, wounds inflicted by others, frustrations, or obstacles.
Choices wield significant influence! The perspective we adopt toward our past often shapes the trajectory of our future. While I wish I could craft this blog post to assure you that everything will inevitably improve, I cannot, as the certainty of such outcomes eludes me—both in your life and mine. Consequently, I take a step back, refocus my attention, and move ahead, recognizing that such forward momentum aligns with the design that God has set for us. According to the Bible, the steps of a righteous person are directed by the Lord, and if this holds true—and I believe it does—then I must consistently take steps into the future, for steps can only be ordered if they are taken!
The previous year might have ushered in a wave of pain and uncertainty for you. Consider this a journey aboard the ship known as LIFE. Before you dismiss my words, let me clarify—I am not attempting to downplay your experiences of pain, hurt, or wounds. I am merely highlighting that these are inherent aspects of life. Your ultimate destination, once everything is said and done, is significantly influenced by your perspective on what has transpired in and around you.
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 perspective:
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
Solomon seems to have hit the nail on the head! Frequently, as the year draws to a close, we delve into discussions about the significance of embarking on a NEW YEAR. Many invest considerable energy in formulating resolutions, only to have them fade from memory within a matter of weeks or days. While such endeavors have their place and are crucial, it’s equally important to contemplate the opportunities and possibilities not just of what a NEW YEAR might introduce into our lives but also how we perceive the conclusion of a chapter.
Consider it from this perspective – You’ve achieved it! You’ve navigated through! You’ve triumphed over the challenges that the past year presented in 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.”
Frequently, the trajectory of our lives hinges on the choices we make. It’s crucial to exercise caution, as there’s a risk of making decisions driven by feelings and emotions rather than relying on faith and trust in God. Quitting becomes tempting when fatigue, weariness, and frustration set in, but the Bible reminds us of the importance of endurance—those who endure 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 underestimate the significance of where you have been, for it serves as the fertile ground for your current destination! The conclusion of a journey provides perspective, vision, focus, and understanding. Your growth and improvement are a direct result of your past experiences, and where you are headed will be influenced by what you glean at the end of each phase.
Happy New Year! Go Forward….