2016, A Time to Carve Brave, New Paths
January 27, 2016
Beyond resolutions, there are goals with deadlines and accountability when I am serious about going forward with a fun, focused new year. None of us easily makes or accomplishes goals. We feel bad and ditch them after a little effort, get distracted by life’s interruptions, etc. But we need new goals. Truth is we need new paths, new horizons, different scenery, a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that sometimes eludes us, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Even brain science research can motivate us here: new neural paths can be made as we let go of old ways, behaviors, negative emotions and focus on goals that really matter to us. New neural pathways are important because that means we can get off old neural circuits that have led to fear, worry, anger, old ones that get triggered by circumstances and produce stress, unresolved conflict, even physical pain.
We want a fresh path forward in 2016.
A dream of owning land came to fruition in 2015 for my husband and me and a small band of friends with a common purpose in mind. Mostly raw land, beautiful land. A few beaten paths there have survived drought and wild weed occupation, trodden down by cattle hooves and people’s boots for a long time. It’s fun as new landowners to walk on those old trails.
…but there is soo much unexplored territory too! It’s a thrill to take a little saw or machete and hack away at brush to carve new trails. Yes, me doing that, what a wonder! Really exhilarating!
Since I was a little girl, I have been fascinated by pioneers, their courage and determination to establish homes in new places, despite weather, Indian threats, and plagues of locusts. My favorite books are the Little House on the Prairie books that detail such a life. Who would’ve believed I’d ever experience such a lifestyle…not me. I’ve been a city girl all my life, but with some kind of “hankering” for nature and the country always.
Sometimes my old pathways, habits, beliefs, experiences are good, to be preserved, visited with thanksgiving from time to time. Often they are not. Again and again I’ve walked weary and frustrated, sometimes mired in the mud of unforgiveness, worry, or anger, playing old stories in my head. Getting nowhere good, suddenly in victim mode, like a mouse caught in the playful paws of a hungry cat.
The good news is that I can halt and consider how to go forward. I can step out now on the grounds of my life, just as with the land, and choose new goals/new paths. Nothing says I must keep to the cactus-encroaching, thorn-bristling, overgrown old trails.
The disciples of Jesus, poised between His puzzling death and resurrection and their unknown future, had conversations about the Kingdom of God “…while eating at the table” with Him—Acts 1:4. I love that, eating together, talking about God’s Kingdom and plans for them. And He gave many proofs that “He was actually alive.” (Acts 1:3-4). Sometimes we need a little refreshing on that, that He’s actually alive, not dead, distant, away on vacation. Makes me smile to think of His time with them.
I can make new paths. I can create new stories in which to live, move, breathe, relate…with God, with my family and faith community, with a world aching for meaning and purpose. I can pray and listen for His plans for me for 2016 before I make goals….sit down at the table with Him and my faith community, re-convinced He is alive and full of plans for us too in 2016. He told the disciples to pray and wait for the Father’s gift, His promise, the Spirit, that would propel them into an undreamt of new life.
Prayer. Waiting and listening to Him, the Man with the Plan, prayer with a faith community that has a mindset like the disciples in Acts 1:14: “All of these with their minds in full agreement devoted themselves steadfastly to prayer, [waiting together]…” And whew, what a whirlwind new life began shortly thereafter!
Due to negative mindsets and challenges in health, I have often fallen off the appointed path. But fresh persistence has entered the marrow of my soul. Hm-mmm, maybe getting His in-put on my goals and praying with my faith community will be the breakthrough I need this year to get past distractions and excuses and live a life that matters to God, to me, to my faith community.
My prayers for you, my friends, is the same. Ah, let us begin with a whoosh of Holy Spirit help and power!