New Year, New You

By Linda Tancs

The advent of a new year brings a deluge of resolutions—to lose weight, exercise more, go back to school, get a new job, find a mate and so on. But the problem with new resolutions is that unless they’re accompanied by new thinking, they’re not likely to bear fruit. In other words, old thoughts trigger old behaviors.

Are you bringing old thinking into a new year? What kinds of thoughts are triggering the need to make a resolution in the first place? Those thoughts usually involve words like can’t, should, could, would, but, if only, always or never.

We all use those words. How do you use them? Do they relate to your resolutions? Keep a journal and track how often you think or speak those words.

You just might need a thought makeover—a renewal of your mind, as the Bible calls it. We’re called to a new thing, a new way, a new life, a new self (Isaiah 43:18-19; Philippians 2:5; Colossians 3:10). We’re encouraged to learn to think as He thinks (2 Corinthians 5:17). As new creatures in Christ, we’re called to resolve to do what He would do. And that’s the best resolution of all.

Happy New Year!

 

Never Say Never

By Linda Tancs

Whenever I hear someone express a negative belief about being able to accomplish something, I’m often reminded of one of my favorite quotes attributed to the philosopher Goethe:  “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.” Negative beliefs often surround the subject of going back to school at a later age. Consider a 50-year-old who says: “I can’t go back to school now. I’ll be 54 when I graduate.” Well, you will be 54 (or whatever age it is) in any event. Growing older doesn’t take any talent or ability but it’s all the sweeter if you find opportunity in change. This point was aptly illustrated in a newspaper story about an older woman who elected to rise above some very challenging circumstances and attend a community college. She became homeless after losing her job, lost all her possessions when she couldn’t pay the storage facility, surrendered her children to relatives for their daily care and lost three loved ones to health issues within a single year. She remarked that if she could persevere through school as a homeless person, then anyone with a home could do it, too.

So what causes a person to visit Neverland and take up residence there? Oftentimes, something in the past holds the future captive—a negative life event that leaves one hopeless or depressed and unable to move forward. Conversely, prior success many install fear in a person that the best of times are already behind. In either event, Proverbs 23:7 reminds us that as we think, so we are. So forget the past (Isaiah 43:18), and look to God to lead you in the present (Lamentations 3:22-23).

Never say never; it’s as simple as that.