Here we are, the final day of January. It’s winter. Winter is the season where everything is generally harder. It’s harder to find that motivation. It’s harder to get up out of that warm and cozy bed. It’s harder to make ourselves do the things we said we would do.
Maybe this has been a month of struggle for you. Maybe you’re experiencing the general letdown that 2024 isn’t magical and those goals you dared to write down a month ago didn’t just unfold for you. It’s still the same old you waking up in your life and nothing changed when the calendar did.
Here’s what I know, at the end of this first month of the year, most of us are drifting.
Drift happens when we stop paddling so hard for the direction which we want to go. Drift happens when life starts pushing us and we start going with the flow. Eventually drift gets us off course and far from where we intended. And this is how an entire year passes us AGAIN without the growth and change we had hopped for. Here it is and you can see it right in front of you. This is what drift looks like.
You see, I believe God breathed new life into you at the beginning of this year. He whispered hopes, dreams and desires into you, inspiring you to believe this year could be different. And this morning, on this final day of January he’s saying, “GET BACK ON COURSE, MY GIRL … REFOCUS!”
Pick up your paddle again, sister. You may have drifted a bit this month, but you’ve still got a lot of river ahead of you.
Today, we finish this month of life right. We follow God’s word in Philippians 4:8 in review of this month: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
You have two options today … think about everything that was wrong in January, or think about everything that was right. God says think about what was right. Think about what was good in this month. I bet tucked in the middle of these past 31 days, there was something excellent.
But here’s the problem, that drift, the bitter cold and boredom, the struggle and setbacks, they tend to overrule all that was good and we easily label the entire month as “BAD.” And here’s the danger … this becomes our habit. Yes, our habit.
Is this you? Do you rush from one month to the next, anxious to put it behind you and get it over with? You wish away this entire season missing the fact that your seasons are limited. One day, you may wish you had this back.
We run from our bad months, but those bad months pile up, creating what we then label as a bad year. Then we’re rushing through the years, trying to get to the next season of life believing it will somehow be easier or better, and before we know it, life has just passed us by and we’re nowhere near where we hoped we would be. We’ve drifted right into a life that falls far short of what we know we were created for.
Honestly, that’s where a lot of us are. We’ve been wishing away entire seasons of our lives thinking the next one will be better, and we’ve missed the preciousness of where we are right now. We drift until we crash upon some shore we never wanted to be on, then we realize we’re stuck.
That’s not God’s good plan for your life!
So today, we stop the drift. We stop the tendency of bad days becoming bad weeks and bad months. We review this month, January 2024, with tremendous care and intention, recognizing our THOUGHTS about this month create a pattern for our future.
YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS MONTH CREATE A PATTERN FOR YOUR FUTURE.
The enemy wants you to believe January was bad. He wants you to believe it was all bad and no good. He wants you to believe you were an epic failure. Why? Because it keeps you playing little. This is how he corrodes your self-worth and deteriorates your value. And over time, he convinces you life isn’t really worth living, and it never will be.
Within these 31 days may have been some serious struggle, bad news, hardships and generally crappy days … however I guarantee you there was also something that was RIGHT. There was something PRICELESS. There was something BEAUTIFUL. There was something totally worthy of PRAISE. And God says “THINK ABOUT THESE THINGS.” Focus on these things intentionally.
And here’s how we do it … we HIGHLIGHT.
Just as when you read a book, you highlight the best parts so when you flip through the pages again those are the parts that stand out, now you get to highlight the best parts of this month.
Here’s the beauty of highlighting … those excellent and praiseworthy things that God tells us to think about are what stand out to you, and all the other things in this month can now fade to gray. You strip those setbacks of their power as they just fade to gray. It’s now background. And all that was good and right in this month is brought to center stage, highlighted in full color, to be purposefully remembered.
Without intentionally highlighting, life can become overwhelming. Naturally all that went wrong, all that was seemingly “bad”, is remembered and soon life becomes a series of unfortunate events and negative memories. We work ourselves into a dark depression, convinced there’s something wrong with us, sold out to the enemy’s lie that our life will never get better.
I don’t know about you, but I REFUSE to give the enemy the highlighter in my life. He doesn’t get to say how January 2024 will be remembered. God has empowered me with the gift of choosing my thoughts, and I will be intentional with how this month goes down in the book of my life. The best parts will be highlighted. The good will be celebrated. The beauty will be underlined. The excellent will be praised.
Go ahead and look back on this month of life. Take a look at your goals and your calendar. Flip through your photos. Relive the moments that have already passed, searching for the fingerprints of God on the details. HIGHLIGHT ALL THAT WAS GOOD AND ALL THAT WAS RIGHT. Make a list of how you want to remember this month. Why? So you can think on those things! Highlight those moments of beautiful and priceless life so they don’t just pass you by and get crowded out by the struggle.
And once you’ve taken your highlighter over the past 31 days, pulling out the best of the best, let the rest fade to gray. Struggle, you fade to gray. Failure, you’re in my past and you’re gray. You don’t get to hijack one more day of my life! Setback, you fade to gray. Bad day, that’s all you were … you were a day, and you’re now over. You will not be carried into my future. You’re fading to gray now as the good days are highlighted.
Enemy you have been silenced. Your cheap offers of pitiful wallowing over all that went wrong this month have been denied. Go on back to hell … you’ve been defeated!
I’ve just had a beautiful month of life. Not perfect, but beautiful. I choose my thoughts wisely and I intentionally select my memories of this month. It’s up to me to highlight what will be remembered. And remember, this practice stops the bad habit of holding on to the negative and wishing life away. We stop drifting and we start intentional steering toward the life available for us.
With this practice, we take the power of our thoughts back. Proverbs 23:7 says “As a man thinketh, so is he.” The thoughts you think are creating the life you live. The quality of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts. Think crappy thoughts and don’t be surprised when you’re smack dab in the middle of a crappy life.
We’re responsible for how we remember January. You can’t just write this month off as if it didn’t happen. It was a valuable part of this year, it held 31 precious days of your one, short life. The memories of this month become part of the memories of your life. And as you think about this month, so your life becomes.
Was it bad? No. It was beautiful. It was precious. It held priceless moments we will now highlight … and the rest, well that just fades to gray now. One day, one month at a time, we’re living a beautiful, big life, intentionally … with our highlighter.