Recently someone stood on my foot with a stiletto! Just saying that: I know you can feel my pain. That stiletto in your foot, brings a new awareness of the space you are moving in. A more attentive approach to where you are, where others are and what you are doing.
That kind of awareness is what I think going into a new year is like: an awareness that the old year is behind us and that a whole new year with possibilities lies ahead of us. We review last year with both regret and celebration. We look at a growing to-do list with fresh resolve not to repeat the same mistakes. Some of us make new year’s resolutions and determine that this year will be different. Others determine not to make any plans. Irrespective there is an awareness of a point in time, where you are, where others are and what you are doing.
Here are three stiletto suggestions for the New Year:
- Acknowledge the pain of the stiletto: the first thing you do is have a look at your foot to see just how bad the damage is. You look at the status of your life. To start building a vision for the year, I always do an exercise where I list 10 areas of my life and do an honest evaluation of each. The ten areas are My Spiritual life; marriage; children; extended family (including grandparents, no grandchildren yet); physical life (including diet, exercise, rest and creativity); friendships; mental development; career; personal growth and finally purpose. You can develop your own areas for your life: some include hobbies, travel, ministry, or books to read.
It is important not to be self-critical during this exercise, but I find that writing it down allows me to be honest with myself about what the status of my life is. I ask myself what have I done well in this area and what could do with improvement. By the end of the exercise, I give myself a rating out of ten for that area of my life.
- Put a stiletto in your imagination: many of us need to wake up our imagination. Imagination is an amazing thing. Sometimes we get so used to looking at what is in front of us, or what is presented to us by media, that our minds begin to get lazy and we fail to ignite our own imagination. Imagination is the stuff that dreams are made of, it is what makes that which is not seen, visible in the eye of the mind. It is also what enlivens faith, for faith is an assurance of things we are expecting from God, even though we cannot see it yet (Heb 11:1).
In Isaiah 26:3 Isaiah tells the people to focus their minds on God.
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”
This nation had spent years focusing their minds on idols and the result was evident in their lives. They had starved their imagination (and their faith) by looking at idols all the time (another translation for idols is “other lovers”). Isaiah wanted them to focus on God again and engage their imagination to hear from Him.
Imagination allows us to position ourselves before God, in a relationship with God, even though we are not physically in it. Imagination causes us to recall, remember and imagine what God may have for us. As we spend time imagining what God may have planned for us, the Holy Spirit will reveal to us…
What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived– the things God has prepared for those who love him –
these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. (1 Cor 2:9-10)
Take the time to imagine what God could do in your life this year. Look at the status of your life and start to imagine what it could look like in one year from now. Examine every area and imagine what God could do, what “God has prepared for those who love him.”
- Now give your faith a kick in the shin, so that you can take action: it is one thing to imagine what God could do and another to believe. Just as it is one thing to have hope, but another to translate that same hope into faith. Faith is expectant even when there is no evidence of it now. Faith rows a sinking boat, looking to the horizon for Jesus coming across the water. Faith takes a step, even when the next step is not clear. Faith is active in its walk and its talk. Faith takes action.
“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. (James 2:17-18)”
Now take that same list of ten areas in your life and convert that area to a statement of faith, something you will say that you are working towards. Something, you will pray to see happen in your life. Make a list of action steps you would need to take to make that happen and pray about what you need God to do at the same time. Faith is put into practice from the moment you pray about it (with your mouth) and do something about it (action). Trusting God for results. Who knows what you may see this year!
You have just created a faith vision for your life in 2020.
Father, thank you that You have plans for me, plans to prosper my life and make it a blessing to others. Thank you that being honest with You is the first step because then I will be honest with myself. Awaken my imagination as I step into Your Presence. Holy Spirit reveal to me what You would like me to see, so that my heart and desire aligns with Yours. Help me Lord, to convert what I would not dare to imagine into prayer, to start believing for that which my eyes have not seen, my ears have not heard, my mind has not imagined. Help me to develop the conviction in my heart, a sure expectation that I will see that which I expect from You.