Around this time of year, as we prepare to say goodbye to 2017 and welcome a new beginning with 2018 we often start thinking, talking about and asking people what their New Year's resolutions are. Some plan to lose weight others plan save up money for a special item or trip and a few give up things.
It got me thinking one year- in addition to New Year's resolutions, we create business plans and map out our careers but what about our relationship with God? Have we ever taken the time to think about and plan out how we want to draw closer to our Creator each year?
This led me to start doing what I call a God Plan. I realized my relationship with God, like all relationships, needed work and the only way to improve was to start putting in the effort.
Studies have shown that people who plan and write things down are more likely to follow through with them. And let's face it; we all have room for improvement when it comes to our relationship with God. This year I have two goals:
1) Discover God's plan for me and act on it
2) Honor what God has appointed over me
Once you know what your goal(s) it's time to start putting your words into action. In order to do that you have to surrender yourself to God. The best way to do that is to stop striving. Just be still, confess your sins and trust Him. The next step of the God Plan is pretty straight forward.... Spend time meditating on the Bible and listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to you. Has God been putting something on your heart lately?
Making sure you are tuned into God is critical for a better, deeper, more meaningful relationship with Him. Right now some of you may feel like God is far away but, as I know from experience, our Creator is always pursuing us- we just tend to get distracted. I am guilty of being caught up in the world as much as the next person. For many years I was cluttered with material things: a beautiful custom piano, multiple homes, cars and money. I had everything but the one thing I actually needed, a better relationship with God. This realization took me a long time, God had been trying to get my attention for years but it took losing my job and those material possessions I mentioned earlier for me to finally pay attention. It was then that I realized I didn't have the relationship with God that I wanted and needed. So, if God seems far away perhaps it's time to adjust the antenna's a bit.
The final step in creating a God Plan is having a daily journal to write down your thoughts after meditating on God's word and spending time with him. This helps you reflect, grow and see how far you go throughout the year. I always enjoy looking through my old journals to see where I was during that stage of my life. It not only serves as a progress report but helps you recognize what you have learned along the way and cherish the growth.
The best part of the God Plan is it doesn't matter where you stand with God. He is always right there waiting to talk to you. I pray that this year we all take the time to put God first and grow even closer to Him.
Jack Manilla is Owner, President and CEO of Portofino Pools in Jacksonville, Florida. He shares his life journey in his new book, Secrets of The Pink House.