Happy new year! For the first time in three and a half years, I flew home to England from Australia and got to enjoy the festivities with my family. As the new year was approaching, like many I assume, I started to think about what I felt the year had for me and the growth I wanted to see in my own life.
I'm starting with two questions; where do you want to see break through in your life this year? How do you want to be challenged by God in 2016?
Although self evaluating can seem terrifying; I have learnt to see it as motivating, humbling and rewarding, resulting in me wanting to grow and move forward.
Stopping and looking at what you want the new year to have for you will help you with the choices you make throughout 2016.
When looking back at the end of the year, you can celebrate those achievements or plan new steps and goals to help you to move in that direction. I believe this helps us to become the best of who we are designed to be.
With 2016 now here, I want to go into this year with an even larger amount of gratitude. No matter the circumstance, the questions I don't get answered, or the confusion I feel. I want to come out of every situation with an even larger amount of joy. I believe this is how growth can happen.
Thankfulness leads to breakthrough because when our hearts are in a position of gratitude, we have a heavenly perspective. Therefore we can begin making progress towards where we want to be. Missions is a crazy, exciting and humbling lifestyle. Its funny because in hind-site I didn't really choose it, it chose me.
Four years ago when i joined Youth with a Mission, I didn't know I would still be a part of the organisation today. However I am and I couldn't be more thankful for where my life is now. However, having a heart of gratitude hasn't always been the easiest. Throughout the trials, misunderstandings and confrontations, it hasn't always been easy to be positive and joyful in each situation. I have been on a journey, well more of an adventure, of learning to be thankful for the things in my life.
God being glorified through our praise
God has been showing me that when we turn our hearts to a position of praise, He can be glorified. Whether the situation is hard, seems impossible, or I don't understand what is going on, it it has become easier for me to have a positive outlook, knowing God will be praised.
For the first time in three and a half years, I finally got to come home to England for the Christmas holidays. It has been a great time of seeing friends, family and relaxing. More than anything though, it has been interesting to see and live missions in the country I lived in for 18 years; knowing that in the past, this could have been something I would worry about.
Since learning to live a life of thanksgiving my attitude has changed. Living from a place of gratitude has helped me to enjoy and make the most of every opportunity. Now I am able to see times that I would have feared, as times of excitement because I am expectant for what God is going to do. I was so excited to come back and enter into everything God was wanting to do during my time at home.
Repositioning my heart has been a choice I have made. You know as well as I do that in life we are faced with circumstances that we cannot control. What I can control though, is how I respond to those circumstances. Daily I decide how I want to respond and behave. Life brings challenges but it is up to me how I respond to them.
Romans is definitely one of my favourite books, since it is full of so much encouragement. Romans chapter 12 verse 12 is one I want to meditate on throughout the year. It says "be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer".
Over this next year I am praying that I can have a deeper understanding of how to be joyful, patient and faithful through everything. And in those things how to remain in a position of thankfulness and praise. Let me conclude by asking you this; where do you want to see break through in your life this year? How do you want to be challenged by God in 2016?
I invite you to step deeper into that exciting, wondrous and growing adventure with God. Have a fantastic year!!
Rebecca Bowie is a young Christian who is intentionally seeking after Gods heart and striving to love people with everything. Now living in Brisbane Australia, was formerly living in London, England. She's a full-time volunteer at Youth with a Mission.
Rebecca Bowie previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/becki-bowie.html