Tomorrow begins a new year, a new beginning, a clean slate. For so many, 2016 was a hard year. It was filled with difficult things and packed with intensity. How can we ensure 2017 is a better year? I can't promise there won't be difficulties, but I did tap into some things which helped me in my own eventful-compacted 2016. I hope they help you find amazing peace and also help you focus on the love of the Father every single day this year!
- Live one day at a time. Don't focus on the whole year or even next week--focus on today and making it the best day possible!
- Plan ahead. While this seems contrary to the first statement, it isn't. Put important things on your calendar so that they become engraved in stone--so the important isn't crowded out of your life.
- Put family first. Trust me, the older you get, the more you realize what is truly important. While you'll look back and be so glad of the investment you've made in other people's lives, you'll find your greatest investment to be in YOUR family.
- Put your "YES" on the altar. Say "yes" to God every single day!! It doesn't matter what He's asking, the answer should always be yes! I found this to be one of the most important things I did this year. My heart was always in the mode of willingness. God helped me differentiate between the important and the urgent.
- Look for God every single day. God is always at work in our lives. It isn't always a huge miracle--many times it's a small thing which may lead to the next small thing. This is something I'm pursuing this coming year--to be aware of God and what He's doing. I want to live in a perpetual state of AWE!! (I'm using this calendar to write down what God does each day.) http://www.ashleyannphotography.com/blog/2016/12/04/best-of-my-days-2017/
- Don't do things out of duty but out of love. If you can't do it out of love, just don't do it.
- Love BIG in 2017!! Extend love to everyone but especially those hard to love. It will leave you feeling good. Love with actions and words.
- Forgive quickly!!
- Speak life and blessing into other people's lives. Encourage them; build them up.
- Give BIG!! I encourage you to tithe to your church. Malachi 3 says we can test God in this. Start small and test Him. You'll be BLESSED--because you're loving the Church--the bride of Jesus! But don't stop there--give sacrificially. Give to the poor, orphans and widows. Give to Israel, whom God loves. GIVE!!
- Fill your day with praise & prayer. I can promise this will be easy if you're doing everything else! Your heart will be filled with praise because you'll be seeing God at work in your life. Hard things may come...but you can trust an all-powerful God who is at work all around you. Make it a point to have an open, on-going dialogue with God all day long. He'll easily become your best friend!!
My prayer is that you expect God this year! I know I began this process in 2016 and found my own heart expanding in ways I never expected. Live each day in an utter awareness of God.