Experience isn’t the best teacher, evaluated experience is the best teacher. -John C. Maxwell
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. -Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
As 2015 comes to a close some of us had a great year and some had a bad year, some maybe saying ,”So long befriend!” and some may be saying,”Good riddance! Bring on 2016 please!” Regardless of where you are on the spectrum, we need to take time and look back over our year and write down what we’ve learned. I love that John Maxwell quote because many people experience good and bad but they don’t learn from it because they don’t evaluate what need to be different the next time around. For me I have a couple “second things” I’ll be experiencing in 2016 so that means I need to learn from the “first things” that didn’t work out! When we take the time to pray and meditate about our past experiences with the sole motive of growth, then God will speak to us and give us wisdom about what we can do next time.
1. Don’t Get Stuck in a Moment
Many people have such bad experiences throughout the year they end up getting stuck in a moment. A moment is just a part of our past that we are currently experiencing. Think about it. We are in the moment and then the moment passes. That moment is gone forever and has become part of our past. We need to leave the past in the past. It can be an indicator of our future but it’s up to us to change or not. Our goal should be to keep moving forward and not get stuck in a moment. We need to forgive and truly forget!
2. People Say One Thing and Do Another
I know I sound negative on this one but it’s just my experience with people. They say one thing and do another. For me, I’ve found people completely under-deliver and over-promise. So I could take it personal and get all offended but instead I use it as a lesson. I’m going to do what I say I’ll do. If I don’t intend to do something then I’ll just keep my mouth shut. Don’t get me wrong, most people intend to do well but they fall short, It’s actually biblical. We are preprogrammed to fall short. This where we have to trust and put our faith in God. God is faithful and true. People… well not so much. Again I believe in people but I’ve learned to set my expectations correctly. This guards me from being offended and getting into bitterness and living angry.
3. Be Interested in Others
This past year I’ve run into a ton of self-involved people. Not saying “selfish” but just overly fixated on themselves. I don’t know if there’s a difference but I guess I’m just trying to be nice. HA! At any rate, being focused on yourself will do more harm than good. Eventually you focus on what’s wrong with you and this can easily lead into depression, guilt, greed, and other self-motivated problems. The best way to get our minds off us is to serve someone else. This lis one reason why I’m a big propionate of the local church. It provides an easy way for us to get in there and serve someone else. When we take the time to be interested in God’s fondest creation (people), God takes the time to get interested in our heart’s desire. When we help someone else reach their dream, God bring’s people along to help us reach ours.
4. Guard Who is In Your Inner Circle
Allowing people in your life who are trustworthy. This was such a huge lesson for me this week. Some people need an entire “support system.” How funny. You really only need a few people who can make up your inner circle. These people are tried and true. Battle-tested. When you go through the big storms of life these are the people who are there with you. All tattered and beat-up… these are the people that bind your wounds and walk with you through the healing. I have a few of these people and they are not the people I thought who would be with me. It’s sad when you are on top of the world everyone is with you and when the world is on top of you it seems they’re all gone! Your inner circle though, those are the people who stick with you. You have to be on guard with these people.
5. God Moves By Faith
The biggest lesson I’ve been refreshed with this year is that God moves by faith. He doesn’t move because we complain or whine; He doesn’t even move because we have a need. He does meet our needs but God moves by faith. He responds to faith. When I started rebuilding in the beginning of 2015, I made some big steps of faith and a year later, I’m astounded at God’s work in every area of my life. It is all because I continued to take steps of faith. I’ve always seen God move like this throughout my life and it’s not over. 2016 promises to be another year of mountain-moving faith because I have big dreams and serve a big God!
God has great plans, purpose, and destiny for us. His plans are always for our good and His glory. God wants us to learn from evaluated experience. Take some time this week and write down the most significant experiences, good and bad, that happened this year. Then take the time to write out what you learned from each. God will reveal to those lessons! He’s a good Father who is just waiting to give you these teachable moments.
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Please leave your thoughts if you feel led and let’s continue the conversation! May God bless you!