Want to have a great new year? Be ready to fight for it.
If you’re tired of being stuck in the same old year over and over, this post will help you get ready to make 2017 your best year ever. If you really want a great new year, keep reading.
My youngest daughter Kalyn loves quality time. It’s her love language.
Kalyn and I have a tradition of going to breakfast together. Over the years, those breakfasts have been some of our most special moments.
This was the bookend to the breakfast we had six months ago, the day before she left for Australia and Nepal for her Youth With a Mission training program. It was amazing to see how much she’s learned and grown in such a short time. Her love for the Lord and her heart for people are so powerful.
I hope you have opportunity to make some special moments like that happen with those you love.
One of the things we talked about was how important it is to be purposeful in making plans for next year.
If you don’t approach the new year with purpose, it’s very unlikely that anything will change for the better.
My wife Lisa and I have made some big decisions about 2017.
And one of those decisions is that it’s time to get serious about making positive changes.
Are you ready to make 2017 your best year ever?
If so, then I’ve got some bad news for you:
If you try to make major positive changes in your life next year, you better be ready for a fight.
Because you have an enemy who does not want you to be happy, successful, or productive.
The writer Steven Pressfield calls this enemy “Resistance,” which he always capitalizes to emphasize that it is a real, living force.
Pressfield writes about Resistance in the context of how we encounter opposing forces whenever we try to create something new, as in writing or painting or starting a new business.
He points out the universal appearance of doubt and self-loathing that pops into our heads-
“Why are you trying that?”
“You can’t do that!”
“No one would want to read something you wrote!”
“Who are you to think that you could do something special?”
Think about it for a moment, though, and you’ll probably agree that it’s not only artists and writers who run into Resistance. All of us do, every day that we try to change something for the better.
How many of your New Year’s resolutions have survived past mid-January in years past?
How many diets, exercise programs, schools, budgets, plans and dreams have you abandoned in your life because somehow you became discouraged, couldn’t believe that you of all people were worthy or capable of such things?
I personally believe that Resistance is more sinister than just some negative psychological force.
In the Bible, we are clearly told that we have an enemy- St. Peter calls him a ‘roaring lion’:
Most importantly, be disciplined and stay on guard. Your enemy the devil is prowling around outside like a roaring lion, just waiting and hoping for the chance to devour someone. (I Peter 5:8, Voice)
And Jesus himself compares this enemy, Satan, to a thief who wants to take our joy:
The thief approaches with malicious intent, looking to steal, slaughter, and destroy; I came to give life with joy and abundance. (John 10:10, Voice)
So I’m writing today to encourage you that 2017 can be your best year ever, but it won’t happen unless you’re willing to fight for it.
One of the things Kalyn and I talked about at breakfast was how clearly she could hear God’s calling on her life while she was away, focused on seeking His plan, in an environment designed to prepare young people for mission work. But now that she’s back home, she said, she’s feeling afraid, hearing the voices that tell her she should stick to the safer path, finish her degree at Auburn, be more traditional.
To which her Dad (me) replied: That’s your enemy talking.
Some of my Christian friends (and some of my relatives) will roll their eyes at this concept. They believe that Jesus is only interested in our eternal well being and that it’s not our job to be happy in the here-and-now. Others believe that we are supposed to slap on a smile and act happy no matter what happens in this life, because if we’re saved then we shouldn’t let the troubles of this world hurt us- “If you have enough faith, you’re always happy,” they say.
I disagree with both of those notions.
Here’s why: The apostle Paul told us in Philippians 4:4 to rejoice in the Lord always. That’s true, but the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 53:3) also described Jesus as a ‘man of sorrows.” Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble,” but he also said that he came so we could have an abundant and joyful life.
In other words, we will encounter problems here. We will struggle, we will hurt, and we will sometimes suffer. BUT, we can have joy, peace, and happiness anyway.
And that’s what I’m writing about today.
You have a fight brewing in your life if you want to make 2017 your best year ever. Because of your enemy, the Resistance, who wants to make sure you don’t have joy. That you don’t succeed, you don’t change, that you stay put.
In the pursuit and accomplishment of change, we become the best versions of ourselves, have the most impact, and help others the most. (Tweet that!)
You don’t change the world by doing the same old thing over and over. You don’t show people the light if you’re sitting in the darkness. You can’t help someone else out of the hole if you’re digging yourself in deeper.
So, as I told Kalyn, I will tell you:
When you’re encountering discouragement from the enemy (or hearing the voice of Resistance), that’s when you should double down on your commitment to change.
Because the appearance of Resistance always means you’re onto something.
The enemy doesn’t bother people who aren’t doing anything.
Steven Pressfield said it this way:
“The apparition of Resistance is by definition a good sign, because Resistance never appears except when preceded by a Dream. By ‘dream’ I mean a creative vision of something original and worthy that you or I might do or produce—a movie, a painting, a new business, a charitable venture, an act of personal or political integrity and generosity.
The dream arises in our psyche (even if we deny it, even if we fail to or refuse to recognize it) like a tree ascending into the sunshine. Simultaneously the dream’s shadow appears—i.e., Resistance—just as a physical tree casts a physical shadow.
That’s a law of nature.
Where there is a Dream, there is Resistance.
Thus: where we encounter Resistance, somewhere nearby is a Dream.”
I want 2017 to be your best year ever, my friend, but I wanted to take this time to warn you about the brewing fight you’re facing if you decide to make it happen.
Are you ready for it?
You know what you have to do. Your heart’s been telling you for years. It’s scary to make real life change, to overcome the enemy, to take that step.
But you have to if you want to be true to your heart.
You have to start today.
We’re counting on you.
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