Along with the shouts of “Happy New Year” come the obligatory questions, “What is your New Year’s resolution?”
I’ve never been a huge fan of resolutions (read more here: Ask Dr. B: Goals for the New Year or New Year’s Aspirations or It’s a New Year: Forgetting What is Past, Racing Toward the Prize. And yet, like a fresh fallen snow that covers everything in a blanket of clean white, I appreciate the natural “re-start” that a new year offers. A time of reflection, of contemplation, of goal setting.
In past years, I’ve structured goals around doing more, achieving greater things, or being better in some area. My goals in the past have always seemed to pit me against someone else’s perception of “the best.”
This past year has taught me some things, however, that I don’t want to lose hold of, and I want to continue to give credence to as I look forward to all God has for me in the next year.
In the early part of 2016, I was intensely focused on the launch of my new book, “Hope Prevails: Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression.” It was my “baby,” and something I wanted to pour my heart into so that others could find His help, His hope, and His healing through the words God had given me to pen. My focus was on doing all I could to make it be all it could be as a valuable resource for others struggling in their own personal pit of despair.
Yet on the same day my book released, our lives came to a crashing stop. When we received the news that day that my husband’s biopsy was in fact cancer, all of a sudden book sales and interviews didn’t matter anymore. While I still longed for the book to help as many as it could, my focus shifted to supporting my husband and family through doctor’s appointments, surgeries, and chemotherapy treatments that consumed the rest of the year.
In sitting with him through chemotherapy treatments, and praying for him as he slept afterward, it reminded me of what I truly value in life and what I want to return my focus to in the coming year.
3 New Years Goals for Getting Back to What Really Matters
- When you face the very real possibility of losing someone important to you, it serves as a reminder that relationship with God and others is what’s most important. We never know when is the last time we will see someone, and yet when they are gone, we would do anything to have just a little more time with them. As I look into the next year, my desire is to be more intentionally present in the lives of those I love and who matter most to me.
- When you go through difficult times, and it seems voices and advice are clamoring for your attention on every side, you come to realize what a distraction it can be, and a deterrent to peace. Through this year, I’ve learned the value of slowing down in order to be still and know that He is God, and He is in control. Just that assurance lends peace to the chaos. This next year, my desire is to prioritize time to be still and listen to the One who holds my future in His hands.
- Over this past year, it’s become very apparent to me through the trials my family has faced, that while we don’t get to choose the difficulties we go through, we always have a choice in how to respond. In the world today, there is so much negativity at every turn. A negative attitude never fosters a positive expectation and robs us of joy in the circumstance. Yet no matter what we face, God always gives us something we can be thankful for. My desire in the next year is to practice more gratitude and less grumbling, and to remember that despite what I might be going through, He is positively good. Read more at: Thanksgiving: The Not So Little Things
In all these areas, I come back to the admonition in Matthew 6:33 “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
What goals or resolutions are you making for the New Year? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.
Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
(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.
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
- Helpful features include personal stories, biblical truths, prayers, and music recommendations
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: https://drmichellebengtson.com/hope-prevails-book/.
I love the words you penned, Michelle. It is so very true what you said about resolutions. It seems we always make them only to disappoint ourselves to break them. My heart is in the same place as yours. I feel the Lord has goals for me & I don’t want to interfere with His plan. I intently every day try to stay focused on Him to “try” to not miss hearing Him. Our lives get so busy that sometimes we forget what “is” most important. The Holy Spirit provides everything we need whether it be peace, direction, help, anything. As I watched & listened to my children & their families at Christmas, I was reminded of this more than ever. It reminded me of how when they were little kids that I was always so stressed. As HARD as it is, while our children are still at home & there is “so much” going on, we still “must” grab every opportunity to be still & be with the Lord. I can remember being so stressed & I feel bad so often that I didn’t slow down & enjoy my kids more (I was a single mom). I loved my kids dearly but because of so much responsibility, life felt more like a burden than a joy. I regret now that I didn’t realize back then what I know now. Yet, I am “so thankful” my kids are understanding & we are very bonded & have a fun, loving, joyous life together now.
I love you, Michelle & pray for you “often.”
Jo Lynn, so glad to see you stopped by the blog today. Isn’t it amazing how tempting it is to get worked up over things only to lose the joy of the moment? God created us for relationship with Him and with others. If we would only assess how our busy plans help or hinder that, we’d be a whole lot better off. Blessings to you this year.
i believe that the Lord insulated me with the truths that you have listed in the 2 1/2 years after my husband died. Since I awoke from that cloudy period I have realized that being still and waiting on Him yields peace, wisdom beyond my own abilities and comfort. The final part of the healing process has come in the past few months. I walk with my eyes wide open now but I learned from reading your book that there was immense hope in the future. God has given me a new path that I believe He wants me to enjoy. I choose to walk as close as possible with Him doing what He directs me to do. Giving Him the glory and thanking you for your willingness to share from your heart.
Jane, I am so sorry for your loss. Through these last 2 1/2 years you have learned a very valuable lesson that many don’t learn in their lifetime: to choose to walk as close as possible with Him doing what He directs you to do is what keeps our peace and our joy despite the circumstances that surround us. He still has a plan for you and it is GOOD, and it includes a future and a hope! Keep walking close! Because of Him, #HopePrevails
Thanks for linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday!
“Because of Him, #HopePrevails!” – Thank you Jesus that because of you we have hope! Love this post!
So glad you stopped by and enjoyed Misty! He is our only reason for HOPE, and He is enough! Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
I loved this quote today Michelle: A negative attitude never fosters a positive expectation. Visiting from #MMBH 🙂
Glad you stopped by today Angela! Blessings for the new year!
Congratulations on being the featured writer on #tellhisstory 🙂
You have been such an inspiration to me as you have faithfully served and loved your family and God. Having only watched and prayed for you from the sidelines, it feels as if that may sound trivial…but I love this post and I love the way you have encouraged us to persevere in seeking him. Praying for your book to bless so many and praying especially for your dear family.
There are so many things in our technology filled world that distract us from relationships and the things that are important. I have decided this year to break the hold of technology and when people are in the room with me, i put down the phone, leave the computer and turn my face to listen to them. Ephesians 4 reminds us to make the most of our lives, b/c the days are evil. If we are not careful then the enemy will steal our days and relationships and we won’t even know what happened.
Zero in on what really matters. This is so true and I thank you for this post and for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story.
Thank you for sharing these encouraging words at Literacy Musing Mondays!