New Year's Excuses

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One thing is guaranteed when you make new year’s resolutions: attached to those will be new year’s excuses.  Let’s be honest with ourselves!  It doesn’t mean you have to be defeated by the excuses; you can overcome them and have the victory in reaching your goals.  But I am certain that temptations to quit will come.  It’s human nature.  It’s the weak flesh.  It’s Satan’s devices.  Whatever you wish to blame it on, obstacles will come.
So how do you intend to meet your goals despite certain opposition?  That’s the real question to ponder as we complete another year and look toward a new year.  Don’t be too hard on yourself; think back on some accomplishments you have made this year.  I’m sure there were some, even if small victories.  Perhaps you are feeling really bad about yourself, disappointed for not only failing to accomplish your 2016 goals but for falling deeper in a hole, whether in finances, body weight, business or career goals, relationships you hoped to repair or reignite, or other priorities you set for yourself.
I once was young and now I’m older, and here is the truth: life is a series of ups and downs, and every day you must face your challenges, whether new or old, with your head held high, eyes upon the Lord, hands folded in prayer, mind stayed on Christ and His Word, and fervor and determination to never quit trying.
Depression sets in when you feel hopeless. It is a heavy blanket that comes upon you and defeats you, and it is nothing to play around with.  You have to find hope, or else Satan can use that to weigh you down and make you unprofitable.  Your outlook is based on your perspective and what it is you choose to focus on, and is not bound to your circumstances, weaknesses, or feelings.  The Bible says in Colossians 3:2-3: “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”  Notice that “set” is a command.  We have to determine what it is we will set our affections on, put our desires toward, and our hope in.  Choose wisely.  Search and find something to hope in, accomplish something, anything good no matter how small so that you can build on that good feeling of accomplishment.  As long as you are heading in a good direction, you will have endurance to continue because you will be encouraged.  Discouragement can take down the strongest of us, and we have to guard against it.  Don’t ever fall into the trap of thinking you are strong enough to not fall into discouragement; pride comes before a fall.
Feeling sorry for yourself is a form of pride.  Sometimes when we fall into the depths of despair we think we are so humble because we think so poorly of ourselves.  However, we fall prey to one of Satan’s devices: selfishness and pride, focusing on our own selves, our own hurt feelings, and our own inadequacies. We can conquer these feelings by putting our thoughts on others and how we can make someone else’s life better. In our verses above it says, “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”  Dead men don’t fret!  Realize that you are already powerless in and of yourself; this is nothing new, you only thought you were invincible.  The truth is that we are but dust, prone to many sins and failures.  If we focus on Christ and hide in the shelter of His wings and allow Him to work through us, we will find comfort in that, peace, and confidence that we are not alone.  Hope will grow through that, because we are loved, but our power, strength and victory come through the Lord Jesus Christ, not in our own strength.
Philippians 2:3-4: “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”  The chapter goes on to tell us to have the mind of Christ, a mind of humility, even as He Himself humbled Himself for us.  We can do the same, following His example.
Happy New Year, and God bless you as you make your goals, consider the excuses that will be obstacles to your goals, overcome them and accomplish great things for the Lord in 2017!


Dino Manalis Added Dec 31, 2016 - 10:13am
Excuse me!  Stop making excuses!  Happy; Healthy; and Prosperous 2017!
Dawn Foss Added Dec 31, 2016 - 10:27am
Yes, happy, healthy, and prosperous 2017!  This Christmas was a difficult one for me, did lots of fun activities but really felt depressed, out of proportion to life.  I feel like I have new hope, starting a new year, and will have to overcome the excuses I know I will make because I've done it every year!  But I refuse to stop trying!  This year I will find success.  It won't come without sheer determination, tho.
Slade, so sorry to hear about your failures with your goals.  Don't ever stop trying, tho, get back up, brush yourself off, and keep moving in the right direction.  That's what we tell kids to do when they learn to walk or ride a bike.  We must, too!  I think often about Thomas Edison, too, and how many failed attempts he made before he succeeded with the light bulb.  We only fail if we stop trying.  Each failure is actually a lesson on what doesn't work.  We can learn and move on with another attempt.  We just can't let our pride get too hurt.  That's what happened to me in 2016.  I have to put it aside and keep my eyes on the goal.
Dawn Foss Added Dec 31, 2016 - 12:46pm
How about determined?  That sounds even better! :D
Dawn Foss Added Jan 1, 2017 - 12:32am
Happy New Year, Richard!
Stephen Hunter Added Jan 1, 2017 - 12:30pm
Dawn I love your quotes from the bible! You seem to pick the non-judgmental ones of which I believe the true essence of the scripture was written. 
Thank-you for this inspirational post. 
Dawn Foss Added Jan 1, 2017 - 2:21pm
Hi Stephen!  Thanks for your kind comments.  I always try to pick verses that support what I am saying, being careful not to take things out of context or try to make the Scripture fit my agenda, because it's not meant for that.  The whole counsel of God is important and I read and study it all, but it is certainly not my objective to offend anyone.  Sometimes the Scripture offends because it is truth and the truth sometimes hurts, but I would never, ever want my delivery of those precious truths to hurt anyone, and that will never be done intentionally by me.  I'm glad you liked my post - have a happy and successful 2017!
Dale Murrish Added Jan 1, 2017 - 4:49pm
Hi Dawn - nice post! Just got done reading a short book by John Piper "When the Darkness Will Not Lift." Some of it was helpful to me (the quote from old hymns and references to William Cowper, especially), most of it not.... Piper clearly has not suffered from depression himself. 
Dawn Foss Added Jan 1, 2017 - 5:05pm
Dale, thanks!  I know you have gone through very difficult times yourself.  I usually snap out of it pretty quickly, but this time it has really burdened me.  I think sustained trials in my life (including a difficult person who oppresses me on a daily basis) have worn me down, but as I was driving home from NJ I was thinking about how Jesus is my shining Star, the One I can look up to when I feel so overwhelmed with pressures and trials and burdens, and frankly with people who seek to harm me.  I am feeling damaged emotionally, and have to trust in Christ's strength to get me through or else I will be overcome.  
I'm so thankful for the Lord.  I watched a movie last night that had a key thought that I latched onto.  It was a dad talking to his daughter, who was a Christian teacher on trial for her faith ("God's Not Dead 2"), and she wondered why God felt so far away.  It was so unusual for her.  I knew that feeling!  Her dad wisely said, "The teacher is quiet while the student is tested."  Sometimes we have to take what we have learned, what we really already know, and apply it without anyone holding our hand.  He'll be there to catch us if we fall, but sometimes we just have to put to practice what we've learned, even though we feel all alone.
Dale Murrish Added Jan 1, 2017 - 5:52pm
Hang in there, Dawn. This storm shall pass. If there is any way to avoid the thorn in your side relationship, seize it. Otherwise, smile, wave and keep your distance. 
Dawn Foss Added Jan 1, 2017 - 8:53pm
If only that were possible, Dale.  Please pray for wisdom for me.  Sometimes we can't escape, and the only thing we can do is endure the storm, and as you know, it can be years and years and years, as I've already experienced.  The Lord has put people in my life who have been instrumental in my coping.  Sometimes friends meet emotional needs, and that is such a blessing!
Thomas Napers Added Jan 3, 2017 - 2:04am
I’m not familiar with your personal strife but I doubt Jesus is the answer to making things better.  To truly change your situation, you need to distance yourself from anyone who oppresses you on a daily basis and avoid people that harm you. 
Dawn Foss Added Jan 3, 2017 - 8:32am
Thank you, Thomas.  Jesus is absolutely my best friend.  I'm sure that God the Father does not want His daughters in harm's way.  I agree with you - we must make wise decisions in order to prevent harm.  That is innate in us, put there by God.  Sometimes we make excuse after excuse.  I think that might be a good new year's resolution - to find solutions rather than enduring the heartaches.  Happy New Year, Thomas!
Dawn Foss Added Jan 5, 2017 - 1:53am
Thanks, Slade!  That is very kind of you to say.  And it does!
I like to differentiate religion from Christianity, tho.  Religion is works based, whereas Christianity is faith based, faith on the works of Christ rather than the works of men.  People often get it confused, tho.  People tend to want to work their way to heaven, but that is unbiblical.  We do good works based on our salvation experience by faith, putting feet to our faith, so to speak, to show that we love the Lord and in thankfulness for what He has done for us.  It is God-centered.  In religion, it is man centered with the idea that we have to be good in order to earn salvation.  If that were the case, then Jesus wouldn't have had to die.  Since He did die and rise again, it is in Him that we should place our faith, not our own good works which fall short.
Going through hard trials and knowing God is only a prayer away does comfort me.  I am governed by my desire to do what is right rather than what feels good.  Sometimes doing what is right is really hard, and sometimes in very sticky situations it can be hard to recognize the best choice.  That's why I consult good friends and people with more wisdom than I have as well.  
Dawn Foss Added Jan 5, 2017 - 6:37pm
LOL!  1 Peter 1:7: "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ."  So at least we know our trials are more precious than gold, as they mature us, mold us, create us into better human beings.  And yes, it gives us opportunity to feel God's love more and more! :D
Dawn Foss Added Jan 5, 2017 - 11:14pm
I do remember him, and that show!  Yes, that is so great, and we need more role models like that.  I loved "Touched by an Angel" for that reason, too.  I love seeing people showing love and comfort to those who are troubled.  She always brought people to the truth.  She appreciated that not every life is cookie cutter, and even in the most complicated of situations, God loves them and can help them through.  We need more of that. I cry with almost every episode because it touches my heart.  Yes, lots of trash on TV, but some really great shows and movies.  I personally am moved by a story.  Movies more than books (mainly because I lack the time) reach me, and the good ones I can watch over and over.
Dawn Foss Added Jan 5, 2017 - 11:42pm
True, and some movies give a beautiful experience that you just want to relive!
Dawn Foss Added Jan 6, 2017 - 12:14am
Yes indeed! :D
Dawn Foss Added Jan 6, 2017 - 8:49am
Thanks so much - that is so nice of you to say!  Yes, I have a few rough weeks ahead as I make some tough decisions, but the Lord is my strength, and I'm being careful to do everything in love, respect, and what is best for all parties involved for optimal healing.  It's never good to let negative emotion grip us, even if a victim.  It only clouds our discernment.  We all cause some hurt as well, even if we aren't intending to.  The Lord has put some great people in my life to help me, so I can help this individual.  God will be my strength when I am weak, and I know personal healing is on its way.  Thanks again for the nice conversation!  Here's to a healthy and happy 2017!