In the last few years, life has tossed us against the rocky shore. We’ve gotten beaten up a bit in the storms, but the journey has been a valuable one. They’ve taught me about basic life principles. Things that I promise myself.
These last years found us in the thick of chemotherapy treatments for cancer, watching the declining health of my mother-in-law who has since passed with Alzheimer’s dementia, and preparing to send our boys off to college.
Life offers no guarantees. None of us knows how much time we have on this earth, only that the number of our days are known by God before we take our first breath.
As I think back on the last few years and the trials we have faced, I’m so grateful for His faithfulness. I’m thankful that even when I didn’t know how we would make it through the difficulties, He always did.
The trials we’ve endured through these years have taught me a few things. I’ve experienced first hand that God’s word is true. His promises can be trusted. I’ve realized I worried when I should have trusted, and I despaired when I had reason to maintain my hope.
I celebrated a milestone birthday and believe that God wants my latter years to be better than my former years. The enemy came to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus came so that we could have life to the full. But I believe we have a part to play in that. We don’t always get to choose our circumstances, but we do get to choose how we will react to them. So I’ve given considerable thought about how I would like to choose to respond in the future.
I’m not much of a fan of New Year’s resolutions per se’. By January third, too many people feel like a failure, and then give up for the rest of the year on goals that were perhaps never the right focus to begin with.
Instead, I’ve prayerfully considered some basic life principles that I’d like to become more consistent in adopting. These are the kinds of things that I’d like to be known for when I’m no longer here. Life is short. I’m tired of wasting energy on things that don’t really matter.
15 things I promise myself this year
1. I’m going to remember that I serve God, not man.
2. I will focus on God’s call for my life, not a career.
3. I’m going to spend more time looking through the larger windshield of my future than the small rearview mirror of my past.
4. I’m going to walk in His peace, and not let worry, fear, and anxiety rule my experience.
5. I’m going to look for the little things in life to be grateful for, while thanking God for the ways He has used my pain from the past for good and for His glory.
6. I’m not going to let comparison steal my joy; I’m going to recognize that we are better together and cheer others on as they obey God’s leading in their life.
7. I’m going to continue looking for opportunities to offer His help, hope, and healing to others who are in need.
8. I’m going to enjoy the journey instead of making it about the destination.
9. I’m going to appreciate present over perfect.
10. I’m not going to allow other people’s fears, insecurities, and opinions limit my future.
11. I’m not going to give attention to being dismissed, ignored, overlooked, rejected, or ridiculed by others, but instead remember that I am accepted, chosen, loved, redeemed, esteemed, and found worthy by Him, the only One who matters.
12. I choose not to pick up a spirit of offense, but to separate people and their actions from the evil that dwells within them, and offer grace, forgiveness, mercy, and love.
13. I’m not going to waste precious time trying to prove something to someone who doesn’t care about me anyway.
14. I’m going to take risks and live boldly courageous for Him.
15. I’m going to allow God to keep refining me like precious gold so I will become more like Him.
Are you making changes in the new year? I’d love to hear what changes you are planning on making this year in the comments below.
Make it a hope-filled year!
Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
About my new book, Breaking Anxiety’s Grip
No question, we have a lot to worry about. Children, jobs, homes, health, finances, and more. The solution isn’t to rid ourselves of the sources of anxiety – as if we could. Instead, we need to recognize that anxiety originates from a spiritual influence and that we can fight back using the God-given weapons of power, love, and a sound mind.
We can discover true peace in an age of anxiety.
In Breaking Anxiety’s Grip, Dr. Michelle Bengtson shares her own story of emerging from the battle with anxiety as well as the stories of others. She reminds you of your identity as a follower of Christ and of the peace he promises you in spite of everything.
She provides tools to cope with the crushing emotional burden of anxiety now and, more importantly, shows you how to reclaim God’s peace as a way of life so that you can break anxiety’s grip.
Breaking Anxiety’s Grip: How to Reclaim the Peace God Promises is now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com, Books-A-Million, and other fine book retailers.
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Michelle, #9 as just this morning I read Ephesians 5:15-17. I want to make the most of each day and every opportunity the Lord places in my life. Grateful for your words today. xo
Not sure how much more refined you could get.
This is amazing. I love the intentional way in which you stated each promise — all so healthy and God-honoring.
Dear Dr. B ..I’m rather new to your web-site..but as we know.. GOD”S timing is oh,so perfect ..since my ‘1st theme Word for 2018 is HOPE ..and you so brilliantly wrote about the HOPE God grants us… maybe the Serenity Prayer which offers.. Courage.. Serenity,
Wisdom..Change.. & Acceptance needs another line about HOPE ‘just saying…”
These are such great promises! I love each and every one of them. Thanks for sharing these here.
I pray this for myself as well: “I believe that God wants my latter years to be better than my former years.” I turned 55 this past November; it’s so hard to believe when these numbers start stacking up. But God will always be faithful to us. Thanks for sharing your 15 things; what a wonderful list.
This is a great list, Michelle. I especially like #6. Hope you and your husband are both doing well!
So many wonderful “resolutions!” Praying them as my own, too. Thank you!
Loved this. Wisdom from a person who has walked through the fire. Thank you for sharing
Thanks for the challenge and inspiration in striving to move forward rather than dwelling on the past. Our choices determine how we respond to each circumstance.
I found you on the Life of Faith. Looking to read other’s new years goals. Thank you for your post! Many to consider as my own also.
Wow, I love every one of these 15 things you have listed and can identify with each one. Thank you for these guidelines. I want to begin implementing them today, Jan. 2, 2020 as I begin this new year. This is the year Father gave me the word PEACE as my focus along with Him for He IS the Prince of PEACE! So I know He does have plans for me with a future and a hope. So much we are expecting to happen this year yet we want only His purposes and plans for us to be fulfilled. We choose to take each moment and day one step at a time. Not to get ahead of Him but always to walk with Him. He is leading and guiding our steps for we pray Proverbs 3:5-6. Thank you for always sharing your heart and your love for Jesus with us.I am blessed to walk together with you. I love you Michelle!!
I appreciate this list. best ideas for the new year I have ever read
What a beautiful way to honor God and keep yourself on track. Thank you for sharing this.
Dr. Michelle … I absolutely love this list! I will join you in adopting them. Love you, friend.
Such wonderful promises!
Michelle – What a beautiful list. I see quite a few on the list I need to adopt. Thank you for sharing with Grace & Truth Link-Up. Maree
I am featuring your article this friday on Grace & Truth. Thank you for linking up with us. Maree
Thank you Maree. You are such a blessing to me.
Happy New Year Michelle – thanks for sharing this list with us! I am personally adopting it for the New Year and wanted to CONGRATULATE you for being our Friend Of The Week at Create With Joy! 🙂
Oh how you have blessed my heart. I pray this blesses any of your readers. My hope is to encourage others that our attitude and the lens we use to view life makes such a difference. These promises to myself sets me up to win, but for me personally, resolutions always seem to lead me to feel like a failure.
I’m not much for NY resolutions, either. But these are good life principles to go by.
Thanks for your encouragement Barbara. With these promises, I feel like it’s a win win situation.
Some great steps here, Michelle. You are somewhat aware of my life the past years. THank you for these great reminders. I intended to stay strong and “come out as gold”
Mandy, in His hands, devoted to Him, you will stay strong and come out as gold. He delights in you.
I LOVE THIS, Michelle! Thank you for compiling this list and posting. I especially like #5 “I’m going to look for the little things in life to be grateful for, while thanking God for the ways He has used my pain from the past for good and for His glory.” But it was hard to pick one. I like them all!
Pinned & tweeted.
Thank you for linking up at InstaEncouragements!
That’s one of my favorites too, Patsy. I always love it when you stop by. Blessings, friend!