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Looking Back and Moving Ahead!

It’s a new year! Can you believe it? Seems like yesterday we were welcoming 2018 and thinking about the potential it held. Now, we are looking back and saying, “time flies!”

Each year I make a list of things I would like to work on or keep in front of me. My list for 2018 was made up of five power-packed words. I wanted to be a gospel-centered, Bible-loving, kingdom-advancing, truth- clinging, Satan-stomping, daughter of the King. I looked at the list almost every day. I challenged my actions to line up with these qualities. I loved the level of focus the words brought to my life.

As I approach 2019, I am doing something very different. Instead of picking a new word or phrase, I am revisiting an old list I made ten years ago. That’s right! One day in 2009, I sat down and wrote a list of things to work on. The miracle is that I kept the list and came across it a few weeks ago.

I remember making the list and asking God to do a work in me that only He could do. I started thinking, “What would it be like if?” I knew the question held a key to unlocking a new direction because at the heart of the question was an opportunity to imagine a free life in Christ. The Lord reminded me that I would never be all that He created me to be unless I gave everything to Him.

As soon as the question came to my mind, I started brainstorming. I listed everything in my life that I so desperately sought to control. As I wrote, my eyes were opened to all the areas where I failed to choose Christ.

The "What would it be life if" areas in my life included:

  • "What would it be like if I stopped playing it safe and and really trusted God and His promises?"

  • "What would it be like if I stopped worrying about our finances and trusted God to provide?"

  • "What would it be like if I stopped controlling True Vine Ministry and let it become God's?"

  • "What would it be like if fear was no longer apart of my vocabulary as I sought to live by faith?"

  • "What would it be like if I stopped living based on my emotions and feelings and truly lived my life based on the Word of God?"

  • "What would it be like if I stopped trying to force friendships to work in my life and instead allowed God to bring people in and out of my life for His glory?"

  • "What would it be like if I lived my life with nothing to prove just trusting God to be God?"

As I read the list over and over again, I realized that within each statement, two choices where available--- mine and God’s. So in true Andrea fashion, I went back and underlined my choice and put God’s choice in bold print. This step helped me to find tangible ways to live with a new focus of daily forsaking my choice and daily embracing Christ’s choice.

Ten years later, I look back and have so many thoughts. I am thankful for the progress God has made in my life. For sure, I am not where I was ten years ago. (All glory to God!!) At the same time, I think about the areas where I need to continue to press in to Jesus. (There are so many!) While I know I am not where I use to be, I know I am not where God is taking me either! How beautiful to know we are always a work in progress. We never arrive! We never quit! We never have it all together! As a result, we can be real, honest, messy, and hopeful.

Today, I wonder about your life. Do you need to look back at past experiences and struggles in order to know how to move ahead? If so, think about where you have been and where you need to go. Then make a “What would it be like if” list. Once your list is complete, go back and underline your choice and highlight God’s choice. How exciting to know we can enter 2019 with a new level of focus and a deep desire to run hard after Jesus!

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14, New International Version)

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