When I come to the end of one year and am on the cusp of the next, I’m generally optimistic about what’s ahead. I like to rejoice in the victories of the past year, the progress made, the challenges overcome, and the joy experienced. I also try to set in the past those things which didn’t come to fruition—failures, unreached goals, unmet expectations—and start the new year with determination to do better, work smarter, progress more, and reach my goals.
Standing on the threshold of the new year, I’m excited about what’s ahead. At the same time, I have a feeling of foreboding. The optimism I feel regarding potential and opportunities causes me to look forward to what God has in store. At the same time, caution about developments in the world lingers in the background. I’m trying to reconcile these clashing opposites of optimism and pessimism about the new year.
Each of us can take action toward pursuing the opportunities that will be available to us as individuals in the new year. After all, the results will be based at least partly on the goals we set, our choices, the effort we put in, our prayers, and seeking God’s will. World events, on the other hand, aren’t something we personally have control over. Our human tendency is to fear, and in that fear, to become more concerned about ourselves and our own community or nation. This can result in a rise of nationalism, intolerance, and hatred, which are in direct opposition to the teachings of Jesus.
How to reconcile these two outlooks to find a balanced perspective? In pondering this issue, I made some personal commitments going into the new year.
Regarding pessimism due to the state of the world:
Optimistically, there is of course much to praise God for in this past year, and also much to look forward to in the new year.
Each of us can look ahead to our personal future with optimism, knowing that the God of the universe loves us individually and is personally involved in our lives. As we pray about the upcoming year and seek Him for guidance and help, He can guide us in our decisions and direct us toward paths that will help us achieve goals that are in alignment with His will.
I find it worthwhile to seek Him at this time of the year about what goals He may want me to work toward, be they spiritual or practical. It’s uplifting and faith-building to know that my goals coincide with His overall plan for my life.
Some areas of personal growth that I plan to focus on in the year ahead include:
I also pray that as you enter this new year, you will do so with a sense of purpose and direction. That you will take time to receive God’s guidance for the coming year, and that as you work toward your goals, you will find joy and satisfaction.