Have you worked on a jigsaw puzzle over the holidays?
If so, you’ve experienced a great metaphor for the challenges and uncertainties inherent in this New Year.
Hopefully, you have some big, hairy, audacious goals and prayers for 2017.
But, undoubtedly, you also realize there are many factors outside your control.
Will this be the year when you:
Meet your soul mate? Kick cancer? Land your dream job? Publish your book? Make enough money to support your family? Reconcile with a prodigal child? Sell your house? Finally get pregnant? Draw your last breath?
So many unanswered questions.
So many pieces that don’t seem as though they will ever fit together.
How do you embrace the adventure and uncertainties of 2017 and not feel overwhelmed or discouraged? How do you “always face tomorrow with a smile?” (Proverbs 31:25, The Message)
That’s the puzzle before you as you enter 2017.
Where do you begin? How do you build the life you desire? How do you move from a jumbled bag of puzzle pieces to a completed picture?
Start with the edges. One piece at a time. The edges in life are the right things you know to do and the boundaries you know to live by.
Begin each day with God. Take time to read His Word and to listen, not just ask for your desires to be fulfilled. Be moldable. Pray big prayers. Live in a way that aligns with your faith.
Keep looking at the picture you desire to create.
What would your ideal life look like at the end of 2017? Write out a description and read it regularly. Pray diligently. Ask God for your deepest desires, but ultimately, surrender to His will, trusting that if He says “No,” or “Not yet,” it’s for your best.
Work on the obvious areas. Put together the pieces that make sense.
Do the next right thing. No, you might not know the next 10 steps to achieve your goals and dreams, but you certainly know a few. Do those! Start with baby steps.
Enjoy the satisfaction of the pieces fitting together, one by one.
Sometimes, we can be in such a hurry to reach a goal that we miss the joy in the journey. There’s always joy to be found, even amidst the most painful journey. Savor the gift of each day. Keep your eyes wide open and you will see beauty and experience love in ways you can’t even fathom.
Don’t give up. Step away, take a break if you need to, then return to the puzzle with fresh perspective.
Sometimes, we can grow discouraged when we’re not making progress toward our goals. Ask a trusted friend for advice. Take a deep breath. Be willing to step outside your comfort zone and try something new. Be brave.
Is there frustration ahead? Undoubtedly. Is it worth it? Unquestionably.
As you begin 2017, I pray that you will be fueled by the truth in these words:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Here’s to the puzzle pieces of your life fitting together into something fresh and beautiful in 2017.