Happy New Year, friends! Are you expecting great and exciting things for 2016, or are you tired of expecting better but seeing no change whatsoever? Are you too disappointed over the past year(s) to even dare to dream again? If so, the following article is for you!
I don’t usually copy and paste someone else’s post here at Flourish, but I’m making an exception in this case. I absolutely love how Pastor Beth Jones has written such beautiful encouragement for a brand new year – even for those whose hopes and dreams have been crushed over the past years.
There’s always hope! So don’t let past disappointments keep you from dreaming of a better and more fulfilling life. Please read this post with an open heart and mind: (Note: This post is from her daily devotional, The Basics Daily Devo, click on the link to subscribe.)
10 THINGS YOU SHOULD EXPECT IN 2016, by Beth Jones
“Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick, but a sudden good break can turn life around.” Proverbs 13:12
It’s a new year. A blank sheet of paper. A clean slate. A fresh candle. In other words; Lord willing, you have 365 days to live, love, enjoy, serve, create, learn, laugh, experience, fulfill, give, pray, taste, see, smell, touch, hear and do…all kinds of new things!
So, are you ready to just go for it this year? Ready to raise your bar of expectation and shoot for the moon?
I know what you’re thinking…carpe diem is nice and all, but what do you do if you’ve already been down the “cheery thoughts and bunny rabbits road” of great expectations in previous years––and your hopes have been dashed?
After all the Bible says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick…” (And why is it we all have that verse memorized?) Totally understand. If you’ve had high hopes and big dreams only to find yourself weary and scraping by in what can only be described as the exact opposite; if you’ve been tolerated and punched in the gut when you expected to be celebrated and patted on the back, you may want to curl up into the fetal position and lower the bar of expectation––this devo is for you!
Maybe your disappointments are based on other people or circumstances, maybe it’s…you. You’re disappointed in yourself and the dumb things you’ve said and done. (No stone throwing from me.) You’re heartsick by the way you treated someone, the opportunities you missed or the fact that you knew better and still blew it.
So, how do we get out from under the, “Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick…” part of this verse and move on––dare I say, EXPECT––the second half of this verse––”A sudden good break can turn your life around!”?
Can I challenge you this year? What if…
What if you go amnesia on the past and forgot all the disappointing things that are behind you? And, what if you really decided to expect sudden good breaks and ridiculous, crazy, and miraculous things––as you throw caution to the wind and move forward with your life? What do you have to lose? (Only the feelings of being heartsick.)
Why not change the trajectory of 2016 and expect these 10 things every day, every week, every month of this year?
1. Expect Daily Miracles. According to Webster’s, a miracle is: “an unusual or wonderful event that is believed to be caused by God. A very amazing, unusual or wonderful event, thing or achievement.” These should not be not once-in-a-lifetime events. God loves you. God is for you. God is good. With Him guiding you, I dare you to expect, look for, notice and enjoy unusual events, wonderful things and amazing achievements as a part of your standard operating procedure in 2016. Starting now.
2. Expect Divine Serendipities. A serendipity is “the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy and beneficial way.” It’s being at the right place at the right time. It’s not being at the wrong place or being a day late and a dollar short. It’s divine protection, provision and connection where the Lord orchestrates things like: you meeting the right person in line, having a happy conversation that leads to a huge deal, overhearing something that sparks an idea, stumbling upon a website with the answers you’ve been seeking, finding $20 on the ground––when you happen to be short $20. Expect a serendipity today.
3. Expect Good Friends. God promises, “With favor He will surround them [you!] as with a shield.” (Psalm 5:12) Favor is unexpected goodwill, acceptance, pleasure and delight…that this is exactly what people think and feel about you…and it’s what you think and feel towards them, as well. (Do unto others…today.) So, expect good friends this year, old ones renewed and new ones birthed.
4. Expect It to Be Easy. We make it hard. God makes it easy. We use words like: do, strive, work, labor, effort, fight, weary, heavy and burdened. He uses words like: rest, easy, light, trust, be, stand still and receive. Of course, we all have jobs and tasks to do––but even in those, we should expect the restful “flow of easy” as you carry on. Easy now.
5. Expect Doors to Open. Every day doors are opening for someone. It might as well be you. Instead of looking at what doors are not open––take a look to see what doors are open. Follow peace and walk thru the doors God has opened for you. (Keep in mind you might not always like the doors that are open––at first––but eventually those doors turn into other doors that you will likely, like.) And..don’t sweat the doors that are closed, they weren’t meant to be opened for you.
6. Expect A Smile (Better Yet, A Laugh!) Every Day. You know how you feel when you get a text or an email from someone you like? You know the internal smile you experience when thousands of people like a blog or social media post your put up? (Or even ten.) You know that ab-working laughter that sends endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin flowing through your bloodstream? Expect to experience that every day…and when necessary force it by choosing to: smile at your dog, laugh at (I mean, with) your spouse or leave yourself (or your boss, coworker or enemy) a funny voice mail.
7. Expect Plenty of Money. I grew up on the Clearance rack. I get having no money and seeing everyone else eating name brand foods and wearing name brand clothes. (I did the grocery shopping for our family when I was in high school and I saw those rich people buying the colorful Del-Monte canned fruit like it was their job…it took me years to realize that the black and white Generic cans of pears in heavy syrup weren’t a brand name.) We knew how to be frugal, tight and budget-conscious. But at some point, you have to get over the money thing and just believe God. Believe He will give you the right job, ideas, favor and open doors so you can succeed, prosper and enjoy life. Expect to give generously as if you were some godly, rich, fat cat. Believe that being generous is better than being stingy. Believe that following His economic laws of giving tithes to your church, offerings to gospel ministries and alms to the poor (not yourself), will result in more harvest than you can handle…eventually. (If you had a few years, I could tell you story after story of God’s super-abundant faithfulness in this area!) For 2016, expect to have enough money to live and more than enough to give. Give away $20 or $200 or $2000 today.
8. Expect An Upgrade. Quit thinking like second-hand Sue. Expect an upgrade. You’ll have to work at this one because our tendency is to just settle. Instead of going with the standard protocol, why not ask yourself: what type of upgrade do you want? Followed up with: when will you give yourself permission to enjoy that upgrade? Do you know how often God––in various ways and through various people in the Bible––asked his people: What do you want? (He never asks: Will this do? Would you settle for this? Do you like this clearance item?) Don’t get me wrong, we all like to get good deals––but sometimes you just have to receive God’s upgrades. So, this year go ahead and order your steak with the blue cheese upgrade. Get the hashbrowns for an extra $1.69. Upgrade your 1986 Caravan, your 1999 hairstyle or your 2003 fashion statements. Find the house you want and believe God to get it to you. Better yet, be the upgrade enabler and cover the costs for someone else’s upgrades! Expect to live in a new jet stream this year.
9. Expect Depth. Life is enriched by depth. Pure gold is below the surface. This year, expect depth and revelation as you read the Bible and talk things over with the Lord. Expect depth in conversation with friends. Proverbs 20:5 says, “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insights draws them out.” After the normal chit-chat, be more intentional to ask questions and draw out deeper things from the people of all ages in your world. You’ll be surprised at what you learn and how the deep things in you get stirred up.
10. Expect to Win. That’s all. Just expect to triumph in all things through Christ. The end.
This is your year! Set your expectation on God! “My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him.” Psalm 62:5Declare It: “Father, this year, my expectation is from You. I expect daily miracles, divine serendipities, good friends, life to be easy, the right doors to open, smiles and laughter, plenty of money, upgrades everywhere, depth in relationships and nothing but one win after another because You always cause me to triumph in Christ! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
Beth Jones and her husband, Jeff, are the founders and Senior Pastors of Valley Family Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan and the leaders of Jeff and Beth Jones Ministries. The heart of Beth’s message is a passion to help people get the basics of God’s Word to live a life they love! She is the author of over 20 books which have been translated into over a dozen foreign languages and are being used around the world. She along with her husband and kids also write the Basics Daily Devo for thousands of subscribers.
Alisha Gratehouse is an artist, art instructor, minister’s wife, and homeschooling mom of three. Her days are filled with creating, painting, writing, drinking lots of tea, laughing with (and at) her family, and spontaneously bursting forth into song. Alisha is the author of several books including, A Life That Flourishes.