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1-lose-weight-1It’s a new year!  More than likely you, along with the rest of us, have made a mental or written list of goals, resolutions, affirmations or challenges which you hope to fulfill before the end of 2017.  

As far back as my teen years I can remember composing a New Year’s Resolution list that usually totaled about ten itemized statements.  Somewhere into my mid- thirties with the demands of a busy family, I think the list had realistically compressed to five.  Then in my fifties I began to notice that I would usually succeed at only three of the five each year so I again reduced the list to only my top three priorities.

At some point I realized the same two goals kept being repeated each year.  One had to do with the physical (better diet and more consistent exercise) and the other was spiritual (more consistent prayer life and daily devotionals).  The third item would vary year to year depending on what I felt was most important to accomplish at that particular juncture in time.

For the past couple of years, however, I’ve decided to simply choose ONE THING, knowing that better health habits and spiritual disciplines would probably forever be on my list.  Surprisingly, this seems to have given me the best chance of actually succeeding at keeping a resolution throughout an entire year.

Last year I decided to start writing a blog, which is something I had mentally toyed with for quite some time.  With the exception of the two weeks I was traveling in Europe, I have published every week and the first of next month YOU, my readers, will help me celebrate my one year “blogiversary”!

At the end of my life I would rather look back with the regret of having tried and failed than of never having tried at all.

My goal this year (other than the two standard ones of course) is to learn to speak German.  I am a big proponent of learning new things, trying new things and experiencing new things.  That is not to say I’m a success at all of them certainly, but I am usually willing to try.

I took ice skating lessons after I had become a mom, horseback riding lessons in my fifties, and just this year learned to play golf.  I do not believe in reincarnation so because I believe we only have one shot at this earth life I want to maximize the experience!

What one new thing would you like to try, learn or experience in this new year?  Whatever it is, I encourage you to ignore the excuses, fears and intimidation popping up in your mind and and whack them with the hammer of Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”!  At the end of my life I would rather look back with the regret of having tried and failed than of never having tried at all.

My mother was a woman of many talents.  She was a skilled seamstress, a wonderful cook, a gifted speaker, a talented musician and had a brilliant mind.  But near her seventieth birthday, she surprised us all by signing up for art lessons.  Every Thursday she would pack a lunch and spend the entire day at her instructor’s studio learning to paint with oils.  Her initial painting shocked us!  The richly textured, beautifully designed floral she produced looked like she had been painting for years.  Who knew that artistic expressions had been locked up inside her all along?

She often referred to the American folk artist, Anna Mary Robertson Moses (also known as Grandma Moses) as her inspiration for trying this particular “one new thing”, painting.  Grandma Moses didn’t begin painting in earnest until she was 78 years of age, when arthritis made it too difficult and painful to continue her embroidery and quilting she had previously enjoyed.

At the time of her death she had painted over 1500 canvases, 25 of those after her 100th birthday.  In 2006, one of her paintings sold for $1.2 million and The White House owns and displays her painting titled “July Fourth”.  Multiple American museums as well a few European ones proudly exhibit her amazing works of art.  

What adventure is inside of you waiting to be unwrapped?  What talent lies dormant ready to be awakened from a long winter’s slumber?  What gift do you have that needs to be shared with the world?  What is YOUR one new thing?

Maybe it is a spiritual gift you seek for expression in your life.  That was my one thing two years ago as I prayerfully considered the year before me.  I asked God if I could experience a new dimension of Him through one of the spiritual gifts listed in I Corinthians 12:4-11 which had never manifested in my life.  I prayed for it, read multiple books about it, assembled scripture references on it and made it a focus of my spiritual journey for that year.  In His kindness, God has since granted me some amazing, faith building adventures involving that one particular spiritual gift.  And I am so grateful for that ONE THING!

If your New Year’s list involves ten things, believe me I’m cheering for you on all ten.  But if your focus has narrowed down to five or three or even one, I am perhaps even more optimistic of the outcome.  I love the Message Bible’s translation of Psalm 119:10, “I’m single-minded in pursuit of you; don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted.

God, don’t let me miss the ONE THING you have planned for me this year.  And don’t let me plan ONE THING that is not in the center of your will for my life.  Amen.

Happy New Year, everyone.  Let’s make it a great one!