Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Here's To A Brilliant New Year! by Graham Cooke

The New Year is traditionally a time of reflection where we examine where we are, where we are going and what we would want life to be like in the near future. We think about change and we make a wish list of resolutions that usually fails to make it beyond January.

I think it fails because we make the wrong sort of list for the wrong motives. We usually make a list of what we most want to change about our situations or ourselves. Most of the items on that list are negatives.

"I'm not going to be a doormat for people this year. I'm going to lose all this weight. I'm going to stop being angry. I hate the fact that I'm so impatient. I really need to stop being so anxious. Why am I so pessimistic?! I need to change that!"

Our motive is improvement, increase, upgrade. We want something better and more of it. Our difficulty is that when we focus on a negative we become drawn into its cycle. We become obsessed by what we are not. We fall back into the pit from which we are trying to escape.

We cannot change a negative by being involved with the negativity. Our lives can never be distinguished by the absence of something. When we focus on a negative we make a feature of an identity that is in itself debilitating. It is easier for us to repeat a defeat, step into denial, and disagree with our own potential.

A negative in photographic terms is an image from which positive prints can be made. Therefore in terms of personal change we must have a process by which our negative image goes through a series of steps in order that our vision of ourselves can be upgraded positively.

Firstly, make a list of the negative things you would like to change about yourself. Secondly, convert each item on that list into a positive. For example:

"I'm not going to be a doormat for people" becomes I'm going to have a bigger sense of my own worth and value.
"I'm going to lose all this weight" becomes I'm going to enjoy getting fit and getting healthy.
"I'm going to stop being angry" becomes I am going to practice being more loving.
"I hate the fact that I'm so impatient" becomes I'm going to make better use of my own time; smile more and be kind.
"I really need to stop being so anxious" becomes I am going to enjoy being more trusting, carefree and happy. "Why am I so pessimistic?" becomes I am going to live a life that attracts joy and laughter to me.

You get the picture. Convert the negative into a positive and then deal with who you want to be; not who you are not.

Thirdly, please remember that the old you is actually dead. As we convert the negative list into a positive one we move our focus from your old nature to your new nature in Christ. Read Romans 6:2-14. This is a template for walking in newness. If we are going to be successful, happy and powerful then this passage is the basis for all of our story and journey in Christ. In Him we are already dead to the old (2 Corinthians 5:17-21) which has passed away and everything is new. Be alive to your new self in God and crucially do not allow people to resurrect the old you. Take joyful possession of your new self in Jesus and have fun establishing that reality.

Fourthly, don't try to become the new person. Accept that in Christ you are already there! You do not become a new person by changing your behavior. You accept the person you already are in Christ and behave accordingly. Abiding is the key new testament desire and delight. Stay, dwell and remain in Christ. Do not allow yourself to be moved away from His reality within your heart. As you focus on Him, it is His peace, love, joy and calm wisdom that will surface in every situation.

Lastly, enjoy the journey! Remember that you do not live in your circumstances. You live in Christ. Stay there! Focus from there. Practice life from there. See from His perspective. That is the nature of Abiding. Let joy walk with you this year. The joy of the Lord shall be your strength, courage, firmness, health, stamina, energy, power and intentionality.

Have a Brilliant new year!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you...I needed to be reminded of this...


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