Most people I know began 2013 on a decidedly optimistic note! In fact, it was a choice few who weren’t excited about the promises of a brand new year.
But as January and the year wear on, and we inevitably return to old, familiar patterns of work and life, the temptation to also resume old patterns of thinking can become overwhelming.
When we leave behind the fun and giddiness of the festive season; and our life compels us to do more than just celebrate and love one another, to many of us, it can feel like a cruel come down. And the moment we’re faced with a challenge, we become despondent and bemoan that, ‘this year is no different from all the others;’ and ‘I’m facing the same old problems that I always have’
Nothing could be further from the truth! You can’t be facing the same situation, unless you have the same mindset you’ve had in previous years. The way to overcome past challenges, no matter how daunting, is to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)
If you find yourself getting vexed by the same old things, realise that yes, people can be annoying, but you don’t have to let any person or situation steal your joy!
When you capitulate and declare that ‘this year is going to be as bad as all the others,’ you are, in effect, saying that you’re a puppet at the end of someone else’s string; and that your life and joy depend on external situations. Stop!
In 2013, maintain a firm resolve that: things will be different, and life will get better! How can you be so sure?
Rely on God promise: “For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you…thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
God wants you to “prosper and be in good health, even as your soul [mind] prospers!” (3 John: 2). But do you believe that?
Anytime you find yourself in despair, you don’t believe it! If you find yourself being fearful, you lack faith in His promises. How do you respond? By “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
When you find yourself doubting that your unhappy situation will ever change, cast down those imaginings! Bring your thoughts into line with God’s plans to bless you, and supernatural breakthroughs will start to occur.
Even science proves that, “positivity doesn’t simply reflect success and health, it actually creates success and health.” (Barbara Fredrickson). No matter what situation you may be facing, adopt a positive attitude; an attitude of faith and “hope in your final outcome.”
Your attitude determines your altitude! As anyone will tell you, “whatever a man sows, that and that only is what he will reap.” (Galatians 6:7)
This doesn’t simply refer to ‘sowing’ in the financial sense, as many people assume. The word “whatever” indicates that we can expect life, in general, to bring back to us what we put out.
If you sow negative thoughts, you’ll reap a negative life. If you sow laziness, including at work, you’ll reap a lack of promotion. And if you sow neglect into your family and friends, you’ll reap bad relationships.
Examine your thoughts and behaviours closely ÔÇô what have you been sowing? “That and only that, will you reap!”
Having a great 2013 is not about excitedly setting positive resolutions at the beginning of the year; and then giving up at the first sign of challenges. Challenges are a normal part of life; don’t let them discourage you from reaching your goals.
Use the situations you don’t want to help you to identify what you do want; and focus on what you want, “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
Also, check to see that your words and actions support what you want. If you want to make more money this year, speak positively of your work; and actually sow more work! Try starting work half an hour earlier; and ending half an hour later. Don’t spend an entire morning on Facebook; focus on higher quality output. It will pay off!
But what if you feel like you’ve been sowing good seed, yet you’re not reaping a good harvest? The response to that is simple:“He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.” (Ecclesiastes 11:4).
In other words, don’t obsess over your current situation. Keep sowing good seed! Don’t focus on the looming challenges; be mindful of your thoughts and make sure they’re positive. Make sure too, that your actions set you up to reap the desires of your heart.
Consider this story, of an elderly carpenter who wanted to retire. He told his employer, a contractor, of his plans to leave the house-building business to spend more time with his wife and family. He said he’d miss the regular pay cheque, but that they could get by on what he’d saved.
The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house, as a personal favour. The carpenter said yes, but over time, it was easy to see that his heart wasn’t in his work. His workmanship was shoddy and he used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end a dedicated career.
When the carpenter finished his work, his employer came to inspect the house. Then he handed the front-door key to the carpenter and said, “This is your house; my gift to you!”
The carpenter was dumb-founded! If only he’d known he was building his own house, he would’ve taken much better care!
The same is true of us: every day, we are building our own ‘houses’ or lives. Are you putting your very best into your building.
Remember; you have to live in the house that you’ve built, so build it wisely!
Primrose Oteng is a Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) and the Founder of the Positive Peace Project, an organization dedicated to creating positive change through personal empowerment. For more on how we can help you or your company sow success in 2013, visit: www.positivepeaceproject.co.bw, or contact [email protected]