Out with the old… In with the New

For many people, the end of the year is a time to reflect. 2008 has certainly been filled with great challenges, inspiring moments and hope that change in our world is on the horizon. In the United States and around the world, the weak economy has caused foreclosures, unemployment, cuts in government programs, problems in the stock market and a rise in prices across the board. The issues we face are too big for us alone—we must seek God if we expect to overcome.

Most people would probably say, “it has been a challenging year.” Yes, its certainly been a year that will go down in the history books, but what I’ve learned in my life is that perception is everything. Despite how challenge-filled our world and our lives are at this time, if we choose to look at the bright side, I am confident that we will see possibilities for a better tomorrow.

The current state of affairs in our world is troubling, but these circumstances are also an opportunity for us to watch God’s amazing power. He will restore us and make the world better than it ever was before. In our personal lives, instead of focusing on the difficulty, let us think about how truly transforming it would be if we could release the cares and worries we experienced in 2008 and look forward to being a better woman in 2009. As you look forward to a new year, you may be empowered to release some of your emotional baggage that weighs on your spirit and move forward in your life. The New Year might be an opportunity to improve yourself, focus on achieving your dream, get closer to God or work on your finances. Instead of focusing on your past and present circumstances, try to focus on the potential for life to be better. It’s really a matter of your perception.

In 2008, I had several personal experiences that helped change my perception. My brother-in-law had emergency brain surgery, I lost my grandfather who had a significant influence on my life and another member of my family lost her battle with cancer at the young age of 41. I saw how fragile life really is this past year and it made me look at the problems of this world and the issues of my life in a different way. Instead of challenges, I saw the importance of appreciating every day that we are allowed to live and breathe on this Earth. I can breathe and that in and of itself is reason enough to praise God!

The things we think about and how we perceive our situations become our reality. What are you focused on right now? Can you pinpoint areas where your thinking may be causing you difficulties? We can choose to think good thoughts in tough times by training our mind to look for the good in each and every situation. The Bible tells us in James 1: 2-4 to consider it pure joy when we face trials and difficulties in this life because the bad times make us stronger and will bring us closer to God if we seek Him in the midst of what we are going through. In God’s Word, we are being told to consider it joy when there is trouble. That is a great biblical example of what it means to find the good in every situation!

As you look forward to 2009, think about the possibilities of how your life can be filled with joy and lived in a way which pleases the Lord. When confronted with an obstacle, change your perception. Challenges are actually opportunities to see God change things for the better.