Friday, January 1, 2016

The Year of The People

It's a new year! Can you feel it? Even the air just feels cleaner, newer, fresher.

Whatever you left behind in 2015 - leave it there! Don't pick back up debilitating habits, tumultuous relationships, destructive thinking. Leave all that junk right where it is!

Think on these things...

How would you like to be different in this new year? Who do you want to become? Where do you want to end up? What would you like to accomplish?

Every new year, I take a couple of days to ask myself these questions and to seek the Lord for guidance for the next 365 days. I find that during that time, I catch a small glimpse of what's ahead.

It may just be a word that will signify my year. The Lord may give me a scripture to live into, or he may give me an idea to bring to reality. Every year is different, but that time spent seeking has never been a waste.

I started thinking about 2016 in 2015. (Actually, I do this every year.) It's hard for an organizer not to start looking ahead!

As I was seeing things playing out in my life, and watching others desperately grasp for meaning and significance from the last fleeting days of the year, I realized something. We all want to BE better. At least, I think that's so.

We want our businesses to prosper. We want our kids to excel. We want our relationships to blossom. We want our churches to flourish. We want our lives to mean something. But do you understand what each and every one of these desires will require? They each require some investment in people.

"Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others."  Philippians 2:4

If you want your business to prosper, invest in people. If you want your kids to excel, invest in them. If you want your relationships to blossom, invest in them. If you want your church, ministry or organization to flourish, invest in people. If you want your life to matter, invest in people. Same answer, for each desire.

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."  1 Thessalonians 5:11

We can't do life without people. God designed us that way. When I find myself promoting my own agenda more than I'm investing in people, I begin to feel as though I'm spinning in circles getting nowhere. Yet when I'm pouring into people in the midst of being intentional about pursuing my goals, I find that God uses people to help me get there. Go figure!

I don't know what the Lord has in store for you over the next year, but I hope you'll take some time over the next few days to catch just a glimpse (Psalm 32:8).

What goals and dreams would you like to see come true? What do you want to work on? Be intentional in your asking and sharing with the Lord. He knows it all anyway, but he'd sure love for you to share it with him yourself (Psalm 3:4-5).

Get his perspective on the year ahead for your life, and then ask him how you can invest more in others. That will thrill him to no end! He loves it when our focus is not just on ourselves. I think it's because he really likes this community thing (Psalm 133:1).
As you are living your 2016 and working on your dreams, make this year about people, strengthening the relationships around you. Invest yourself, no holds barred, in the lives of others. It's a messy business at times. I know. Boy, do I know! But if we want to become who we were created to be, we cannot avoid rubbing shoulders with people - all kinds of people.

So in the dawn of this new year bursting with promise and outrageous potential, take note of where you'll be as 2017 begins to make it's appearance. Perhaps you'll see it was people that helped you along the way, who held your arms up when they were weary and who prayed you through the sketchy moments of 2016. Yes, those very same people you faithfully poured into as you were simply living your life.