Start with a clean sheet

By Gerry Lewis | Published Wednesday, January 3, 2018

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It’s a new year! 2018!

It doesn’t seem possible. You may feel like 2017 can’t possibly be over because you didn’t get everything done that you had planned to do. Since some of us will be writing 2017 on things for the next several weeks anyway, so we’ll just extend it for awhile. Or not.

Where will 2018 take you? Wherever you go, I hope you’ll find clean sheets.

How’s that for a New Year’s wish?

Think about it for a minute. You may travel this year for business or vacation or to visit family. When you arrive at that hotel room or bedroom in someone’s house, don’t you want the sheets on the bed to be clean?

If you have to spend a night in the hospital this year (we hope not, but it could happen), don’t you want clean sheets on the bed?

Think about it for a minute. Isn’t the alternative just gross?

Now, I’m going to make a sharp turn and switch metaphors. (I started to say either a “left” turn or “right” turn, but I was afraid someone would interpret it politically).

What will your story be this year? Whatever it is, I hope it’s written on a clean sheet.

Imagine you get an actual handwritten letter in an envelope in the mail. Since most of our correspondence comes via email or text, we may have to really use our imaginations. Don’t you want it written on a clean sheet of paper? Or is it OK to just repurpose some other old correspondence and write around it or over the top of it?

That’s not nearly as gross as dirty bed sheets, but it doesn’t say much about how much someone cares about you if they can’t even spring for fresh paper.

Here’s my point in all this silliness: a New Year is a new trip with a new story. We need to start fresh.

I’m setting some significant goals for 2018. I hope you are as well. But do you know what can prove to be the biggest hindrances to reaching those 2018 goals? That would be our 2017 goals, whether we reached them or not.

If we reached them, we can be tempted to maintain the status quo and miss this year’s opportunities. If we missed them, we can be paralyzed by failure as we keep replaying our mistakes and missteps in our heads.

Either way, too much looking backward can keep us from moving forward.

Here’s a little tool to help you start the new year. Take a clean sheet of paper and write these words at the top of the page: “It is January 1, 2019. I am ”

Now write three statements you want to be able to say about yourself at the end of this year. Write them in present tense, as if they are already true.

Now, what do you need to start doing to make those statements more likely to be true?

Your life matters to God. He has given you a clean, fresh, new year. What will you do with it?

Dr. Gerry Lewis, author, blogger, church consultant and leadership coach, serves as executive director of the Harvest Baptist Association in Decatur.

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