Faith

Becoming Freer in Faith in 2017

Use this new year as a time to bloom

If you’re anywhere near 50 years old and plan to live a full and productive life until your 80s, then 10,000 good days are about what you have left. Some will have more, others less. That is shockingly few, I know.

The start of 2017 is a good time to ask: “How best can I live my days?” or, “Where am I a spectator of life and where am I a fully invested participant? Am I in full bloom?”

Take a moment to ponder: “How can I go deeper spiritually in 2017?”

  • Join a Bible study: Try Walking with Purpose for women, or That Man is You for the guys — or check out an ALPHA course. It’s for anyone of any age and runs in a variety of places and ways, they are life changing and fun!
  • Read three great spiritual books. I like: Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisieux, Breath of God by Fr. Dave Pivonka or Into The Deep by Dan Burke.
  • Join a church. If you are not committed to a parish, join one. You will always feel like a “guest” until you do. Then tithe–because where your money is… you get involved.

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Related: A New Year’s Resolution: Focus on Faith

Ask yourself: “How can I become freer in 2017?”

  • Forgive. Yep, just do it. Keep really short accounts. Make a list of anyone against whom you have the slightest grudge and, as an act of the will, forgive him or her. Picture yourself just giving it all over to God to handle. That’s all you have to do. It’s that simple. And be free.
  • Get out of crushing debt. If you are in a hole, stop digging. Check to see where you can turn things around. Check for leaks, get help, make changes if needed. It has to start sometime — why not now?
  • Cut things out. What things are you doing that have very little positive results? Are they of real benefit to you or your family or the world at large? If not, pray about it and if you get the thumbs up, cut and run. Each day is a gift. Live it well.

Do you agree that protesting is acceptable, but rioting is not?

Also ask yourself: “How can I love better in 2017?”

  • Identify your “love language” and the love language of those with whom you interact. There are five: gifts, time, touch, words of affirmation, and acts of service. People usually express love in the way they like to receive love. Once you understand the love language of your family and friends, speak it to them, even if you think their ways are “stupid or wrong.” Do it anyway — it works. Love well. Life is short.
  • Ask God to help you love the most “unlovable” person in your world. He can take hearts of stone and turn them into hearts of flesh … even yours.
  • Love yourself. Learn to laugh at your own mistakes. Forgive yourself for the little (and the big) and pray for the grace to see yourself with the eyes of God. He sees you as His beloved child. Sit and ponder that, basking in the love of the Father each day in 2017.

My goal is to not let 2017 turn into 2018 with little-to-no growth in these three areas. Join me in living all of 2017 to the fullest. It’s never too late to live life well, to be in full bloom. If not now, then when?

Related: Where Does God Want You to Go in 2017?

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“Teach us to count our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart.” (Psalm 90:12)

Dear Lord,
I need You to help me to make each day count. I need You to order my steps and my days. I need You to change my heart and my mind when it comes to people who bug me and things I need to do and don’t have the strength to get done, or things I need to cut out, or that I don’t have the will power to let go of. Help me, dear Lord. I throw myself onto Your merciful lap, asking for the grace and strength to live a life fully invested, abandoned in the ways of You. Help me to know You more, to love You more and to live that out each day. I want to be in full bloom for You.

I ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Melissa Overmyer is the founder of Something Greater Ministries in Washington, D.C., and has been teaching the Bible for over 30 years.

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