The start of a new year reminds me a bit of freshly fallen snow covering the old debris and offering a new blank canvas to write the future.

But with the onset of every new year, I find myself first reflecting on the year past: the pitfalls, the mistakes, the trials, the joys, and the blessings.

As I reflect back on this past year, I am so grateful for where I’ve been, and what I’ve had the opportunity to see and do. The birth of my first solo book, “Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression” was the culmination of a dream come true: to offer a resource beyond the four walls of my private practice, for those walking in the valley of depression to find His help, His hope, and His healing.

While the publication of “Hope Prevails” was a highlight in our year, our family also experienced several lows: being an expert witness in a court case that clearly was not interested in truth and justice, a 12-week bout with pneumonia, recovery from an accident, and most recently, my husband’s diagnosis and treatment for cancer.

Birthing a book and having my husband diagnosed with cancer on the same day was profoundly sobering. All the excitement of one was dampened by the life and death concern from the other. It re-emphasized to me the importance of not taking time or relationships for granted, for we never know when one will be gone without advance notice. It also underscored for me the importance of being intentional in our day to day lives.

There is so much that happens in life that is beyond our control. Yet at the same time, we get to choose how we participate in life and the attitude we will adopt in response to the circumstances we find ourselves in.

As I look back at the last year and the lessons I’ve learned, I look to the new year with a determination to set goals that matter:

  1. God created us for relationship with Him and with each other. I’m going to be more intentional in my time investment in both. 
  2. I’m going to worry less about pleasing others, and focus on what I know pleases God. 
  3. I’m going to worry less about what hasn’t happened yet and focus on what is certain today. 
  4. I’m going to rush less and take more time to be still in God’s presence. 
  5. I’m going to be less tied to my “to-do” list and keep my peace by focusing on what God’s priority is for my day. 
  6. I’m going to grumble less, and be more grateful for God’s positive goodness in my life each day. 
  7. I’m going to focus less on building my career and instead pursue the calling God has given me. 
  8. I’m giving up competition with others, and remembering that God has equipped each of us with our own gifts, talents, and unique purpose in the kingdom. 
  9. I’m going to worry less about others’ acceptance, and remember that I am already perfectly accepted by my Heavenly Father. 
  10. I’m going to give more weight to the plans that God has for my future which He calls good, and less importance to the things in my past that have held me back. 
  11. Instead of worrying about difficulties as they arise, I’m going to view them as exciting opportunities for God to prove Himself faithful. 
  12. I’m going to say no to comparison and gossip, and yes to encouraging, inspiring, and uplifting others to be all they can be. 
  13. I’m going to remember that the tongue has the power of life and death, and I’m going to choose to speak life over myself, my family and friends, and those He brings across my path. 
  14. I’m going to stop listening to the old tapes and lies that have held me back and repeatedly remind myself of God’s truth and who He says I am. 
  15. I’m going to let go of bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness, and instead choose to extend the same mercy and grace that the cross has given me. 
  16. Instead of living in fear and insecurity, I’m going to be boldly courageous, take risks, and try new things. 
  17. Instead of being frustrated by my perceived lack of progress, I’m going to enjoy the journey and let God set the course and the pace. 
  18. Rather than share my concerns with others, I’m going to spend more time taking them to God. 
  19. Instead of telling God how big my problems are, I’m going to tell my problems how big my God is. 
  20. Instead of complaining about the difficulties of each day, I’m going to thank God for each new day He gives me as an opportunity to grow closer to Him. 

While much of what happens to us in our lives is beyond our control, because God gave us free will, we get to choose how we will respond. This next year, I’m getting rid of the relationships, the preconceived notions, and the attitudes that held me back, and I’m going to focus on adopting the mind of Christ, letting Him rule, reign and govern my day.

What will you do differently on the canvas of the new year before you?

Because of Him, #HopePrevails

Choices that make a difference. Rush less. Take time to be still in God's presence.  Christian Inspirational Quote


(If you have a question you’d like Dr. B to answer, contact her here now. Your name and identity will be kept confidential.)


A short brief about Hope Prevails.

Hope Prevails
Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression
Dr. Michelle Bengtson

Speaking from personal and professional experience, a neuropsychologist unpacks what depression is, shows how it affects us spiritually, and offers hope for living the abundant life.

Neuropsychologist Offers Hope to Those Struggling with Depression
-By 2020, depression will be our greatest epidemic worldwide

  • An estimated 350 million people worldwide suffer from some form of depression
  • As with the bestselling My Stroke of Insight, the author experienced the same condition she treats
  • Helpful features include personal stories, biblical truths, prayers, and music recommendations

Hope Prevails Book cover vertical 536

In Hope Prevails, Dr. Bengtson writes with deep compassion and empathy, blending her extensive training and faith, to offer readers a hope that is grounded in God’s love and grace. She helps readers understand what depression is, how it affects them spiritually, and what, by God’s grace, it cannot do. The result is a treatment plan that addresses the whole person—not just chemical imbalances in the brain.

For those who struggle with depression and those that want to help them, Hope Prevails offers real hope for the future.

Hope Prevails is available now wherever books are sold. To find out more, see:


Looking back of the last year and lessons learned, I look to the new year with a determination to set goals that matter. Though much of life is beyond our control, we get to make choices that matter: how we will participate in life and the attitude we adopt in response to circumstances.