By Stacey Tolbert
Any time is the best time to create vision for the life you desire, and that God can help you live out.
The Kingdom is Yours
Setting goals for the new year can be exhausting, especially when the reality of meeting them feels like a burden. After failed attempts to meet my exercise and self-improvement plans for many years in a row, I have learned the art of beginning a new year with a few simple priorities: to recognize what you have and be grateful; to take care of all you have been given.
Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first his kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (NIV)This verse indicates that if we seek God, we will have what we want and need. However, when we seek God, we will want what we have because our hearts will be turned to gratitude for all God has given us.
As followers of Christ, we have been given so many gifts that we don’t even realize. Paul says in Ephesians 1:18-19, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”(NIV) All of God’s riches, blessings, hope, love and power are available to us, we only need to recognize and learn more about these gifts.
Renewing What you Already Possess
God has given us all we have: our bodies, our families and friends, and our belongings. Rather than consider how we can change what we have or exchange it for something better, consider asking these questions about how to care for what you have already been given.
How can you take greater care over:
- Your responsibilities and belongings. Do you have time to keep your house clean, and laundry washed? Perhaps you have too much stuff and it’s time to de-clutter. Maybe now is a good time to give away unused toys and clothing you haven’t worn in a year. Are you overwhelmed by all of the meetings and volunteer hours you are putting in which make it difficult to enjoy the day-to-day? What are one or two areas you feel passionate about? Focus on those priorities and consider how you can offer more meaningful service, leadership and commitment and less focus on how many organizations or clubs in which you participate.
- Your health and body. Do you feel good in the morning when you awake? What are some areas that are causing struggle? Lack of sleep, low energy, poorly fitting clothes? Begin by taking a few more walks each week, drinking more water, and adding more vegetables to your meals. You don’t have to overhaul your entire life to begin a few changes that will help you to feel better and more energized.
- Your relationships. Which of your friends has come to mind recently? When was the last time you called to see how they were doing or invited them out for coffee? Would one of your children or your spouse be encouraged by some special time together with you? How might you make the people in your life feel cared for? Small notes of encouragement or a long overdue phone call truly can make a big impact and bring joy to you and them.
We are called to subdue and multiply all that we have been given. This doesn’t mean we have to keep yearning for more that we do not currently possess. Instead, it could mean seeking to bring beauty and blessing from what we already have.
Wife Step: Pray and ask God to help you care for all that is in your life right now. This can help you to develop gratitude for what you have, as you seek to honor God with the blessings he has given.
Stacey Tolbert is a writer, Director of Engagement, and women’s ministry leader at the church her husband pastors in Northwest Ohio. Stacey and her husband have been serving in ministry together for over 20 years. Stacey has journeyed from college ministry to being a stay-at-home mom to their four children, to full-time teaching, and finally following the call to share her gifts through writing and ministry. Her heart is to help women discover their greatest potential, as they learn to embrace their God-given gifts, both in marriage and in life.