There are cycles in life—times in which everything seems to go well, and times when things seem to go badly. I want you to learn to hold on to Me through each phase of the cycle.
Life is all about the little decisions you make every day. Decisions of the past have had their effect, but every new day can be a new start. No matter what has happened up till now, you have a chance to make the right choices today.
Don’t waste time reliving the pain of past mistakes and wrong decisions. That only saps your power to do the good that you can do today. You can’t change the past, but the future is what you make it, starting right now, so take full advantage of the present.
When the thought first crossed my mind that I should make a New Year’s resolution to keep a daily journal, I immediately dismissed it. Too many past resolutions had fallen by the wayside, and I could foresee ending the year with a journal full of empty pages. I also didn’t have time for another project, I told myself.
However, I had recently completed a counseling course in which keeping a journal was a requirement. The instructor had emphasized making a habit of recording thoughts, ideas, plans, experiences, worries, fears, and victories. It was an important step toward self-awareness, he explained, and that is crucial to being able to help someone else sort out their problems.
One day Joe broke his arm. They said it was par for the parkour he practiced. Joe was a traceur. He lived in a world that consisted of one giant obstacle course, climbing and leaping, escaping and reaching, vaulting and rolling across his busy cityscape. Joe pushed himself on his runs, sometimes over cars or walls, sometimes across rooftops. Sometimes too far. Destiny watched him from afar, eyeing his toothpick arm and waiting for her chance.
On the morning when he broke his arm, Joe had gone with a couple of friends on a practice run for a home video they were making. A few warm-up moves gave Destiny her chance.
Heavenly Father, Your creation is changing continually—seasons and cycles in perpetual motion. Help me to flow like that, to not be afraid to let go of my comfortable habits and routines in order to discover new things. Instead of holing up in the security of the familiar, help me to venture out into new territory. Help me to not stagnate, but to progress and continue to grow. Most of all, help me to change in the ways You want me to change, so I can become all You know I can be.
Progress can be a two-edged sword. On one hand it’s wonderful because it brings us closer to our goals, but on the other hand the change it entails can make us feel uncomfortable, destabilized, insecure. We want the benefits, but we wish we could skip the difficult transition phase. That would be nice, but it’s not realistic.
It’s human nature to resist change, but we can override that impulse; we can each choose to be a change proponent.
The due date for my writing assignment was fast approaching, and I was barely half done. I’d been working fast and furiously, but my mind was now too stressed to think clearly, my eyes were too strained to focus, and my shoulders were stiff from sitting hunched over my computer keyboard for so long.
I finally pulled myself away from my desk piled high with books and papers, and retreated to a nearby window for a break. As I raised my eyes to a beautiful blue, sunny sky above neighboring apartment buildings, I caught sight of a bird in graceful flight. My spirit soared with it.
Psalm 37:23: The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way.
Proverbs 16:9: A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps
Proverbs 19:21: There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.
The rugged climb doesn’t dissuade the determined mountain climber; he revels in the challenge. Nothing can stop him from pressing on until he reaches his goal. No adversity can cause him to turn back. When he looks at the steep cliffs ahead, he doesn’t focus on the danger but on the toeholds and narrow rock ledges that will take him to the peak. He isn’t held back by the harshness of his surroundings or the toll the climb is taking on his body; he is propelled onward and upward by the thought of triumph.
I had struggled with and overcome the demons of self-doubt and fear of failure, launched out into the deep, put pen to paper, and written my first short inspirational piece.
I sat back and read it through several times. Pleased with my modest effort, I submitted the piece to a monthly magazine for possible publication.