As I sat down to write this post, I intended to write about: “How to Have a Happy New Year!” But then, I thought about it: We would be happy or happier only if next year was indeed really “new.” Let me show you what I am talking about! This time of year (the days after Christmas), people normally think about plans for the New Year. However, no matter what or how many new resolutions are made, most of the time, the New Year eventually ends up being a replica or a repeat performance of the old year! The reason is because, in most cases, nothing is truly new except the year! It’s a new year; but it’s the same old person! It’s a new year; but we do the same old things! It’s a new year but we think the same old thoughts! I preached a sermon once and I think repeating the title would be appropriate for the thought I am trying to convey. The title of the sermon was: “I Don’t Need a New Year: I Need a New Me!”
The point of the sermon and the point of this post is that we can’t expect next year to be a “new” year if we don’t do anything to make it new! The year will not be new if we don’t change! Next year will be just like this year, which was just like last year, which was just like the years before, unless and until we make a change! Well, what changes can we make to truly make next year a “New Year?” First of all, we can change our thinking! We can change the way we think and change what we think! Everything that happens in our lives is produced by what and how we think; our thoughts and thought patterns! Change your thinking and you change your life! Now some might think this is “new age” thinking, but it is not “new age” nor is it really new! The Biblical author wrote centuries ago: “As a man thinketh in his heart; so is he!” John the Baptizer and Jesus of Nazareth both preached: “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” What many modern Christians fail to comprehend is that the Greek word that is translated as “repent” in the statements of John and Jesus means; “to change the way you think, or to change your thoughts.” What Jesus and John were saying was that God’s Kingdom is not a just a place and future event at the end of time, but rather it is also a present reality! And the Kingdom of God as Jesus preached it was not Heaven in the sky, when we die, bye and bye, but rather the present reality of the rule and authority of God in our lives! So in order to have a “new” year, we must also repent! We must change what we think and change how we think!
What thinking and thought-patterns do we need to change in order to have a new year? Well there are several, but I’m only going to touch on a few. First of all, we must quit thinking of life as happening “to us” and realize that life is really what “we” make it! Everything that has happened in your life up to this point; you caused it to happen! You caused it either by what you did or what you didn’t do! You caused it by your actions, in-actions or thoughts! So, if next year is really going to be new, then you must accept personal responsibility for the circumstances and conditions in your life! You must also quit the blame game! I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard someone say that somebody “made” them mad! But the truth of the matter is this: No one can “make” you angry! Your anger is an emotional response that is controlled by your thoughts or your thinking. Since no one can control your thoughts but you and your thoughts control your emotions, then if you got angry, it was not because that person “made” you angry, but rather it was because you chose to respond with anger! Your emotional response of anger was a choice you made! You could have chosen to respond differently! Quit the blame game! Losers fix the blame: winners fix the problem!
That’s another thing you’ve got to quit if you want to have a new year! You’ve got to give up the idea that you have no choice! You always have a choice! I’ve heard people say that they go to work because they don’t have a choice! But they do! They could choose “not” to go to work! It’s really not a matter that they have no choice; it’s really a matter of not liking the consequences of the alternative choice! By the way, if you are working a job only because you feel you have no choice, you really need to choose to do something else!
If you want to have a new year, then you must also quit complaining and grumbling about the circumstances of your life. Whatever your circumstances; you directly or indirectly created them! So, if you don’t like the circumstances of your life, accept personal responsibility for the fact that you created or caused them, and then change them! Whatever situation you’re in, accept the fact that you were the major cause, and then understand that you have a choice! You can change it or you can accept it! But by all means, don’t constantly complain and grumble about it! Constantly complaining and grumbling does nothing to help the situation, in fact it makes it worse! The more you complain and grumble; the more you’ll have to complain and grumble about!
The bottom line is this: If you really want next year to be a new year, then you’ve got to be “new” next year! You’ve got to do differently! You’ve got to think differently! You’ve got to respond differently! Things will not change unless and until you change! You can’t have a “new” year with the same “old” you!
Disclaimer: I realize that there are and have been circumstances and situations in which a person may have not been a contributor and/or had/have no control such as conditions of slavery or poverty. This post is directed toward those of us who have a fair amount of freedom in our lives. But, to any person who may be suffering because of the actions of others (such as an oppressive government) this post is not an attempt to blame those who are truly victims.