Ending the Year Strong: Forgive Others

Moving forward is never easy. It doesn’t mean that we forget what others did or didn’t do to us. However, we need to forgive others. Not forgiving others is a toxin to your heart, mind, and soul.

Think about this last year. Who hurt you really bad? Was it someone’s words or actions? Here’s the deal, folks. The old saying: sticks and stones may break my bones but words may never hurt me. <—–Garbage saying!

The actions AND words of others will hurt. Sometimes people hurt us on purpose and sometimes they don’t even realize they shoot arrows at us.

To forgive, first go to God. Who do you need to forgive? What person or situation is bothering you? Give it to God and keeping praying to truly release it to Him. It will take more than one time of releasing them in prayer.

Ask yourself if you need to talk to this person about forgiving them. Sometimes this must occur for closure and other times it will just be traumatic for you. Talk to God and someone you trust and then decide.

Forgiveness frees you from a trapped heart and mind. It allows you to live in the now and hope for the future. Without hope, it will be difficult to see what God is doing in your life.

Ending the Year Strong: Forgive Yourself

2023 is only 3 days from now! In the last blog post, we talked about reviewing 2022 and taking notes. There is something revealing and therapeutic (and hopefully healing) about reviewing the last year. Every year is different. Maybe your year had alot of good surprises or perhaps you had a year that was traumatic and heartbreaking. One thing that we need to do with the last year is forgive ourselves.

When I talk about forgiving ourselves, I am not advocating for some self-help tactics. Quite the opposite, forgiving ourselves means that we take a step towards Jesus. As we take this step, we forgive ourselves for where we screwed up this year. Our year might have been full of bad decisions we made or a year full of indecisiveness. Both active and inactive decisions can lead us closer or further away from Jesus and others. We give the last year to Jesus and seek forgiveness.

A lot of feelings may be brewing inside of you from this past year: joy, disappointment, heartache, failure, grief, suffering, confusion, peace, etc. Regardless of what you are feeling (good or bad), give it to Jesus. In this moment, do not look for the lesson learned. It is too early for that. You need to heal, seek restoration, and gain clarity for the next year.

Here is how this works……

  1. We admit our flaws. We don’t air this out on social media or text a friend. We take this to God.
  2. We repent. Repentance means “to turn away from”. We seek a better way in Jesus and this is NOT performance-based or behavior modification. You can know the rules of Christianity, have nice manners, never miss church, and still not KNOW JESUS.
  3. We forgive others. (This is my next blog post!)
  4. We plan and make changes. This is where you get help. Seek a trusted friend, mentor, or professional whom can help you learn and process from the last year. Process and then plan for the next year. If you hate your job, why is that? If you keep dating people who treat you like crap, then up your standards!

Give yourself some grace. Jesus has already extended it to you. Will you accept it?

Ending the Year Strong: Take Notes

Some people love taking notes. They take notes at church, at work, and in life lessons learned. And then there is everyone else. These are the folks that only take notes because they “have to”. Which crowd do you belong to? There is no wrong answer! As the year winds down, I will be focusing on a series of blogs on Ending the Year Strong. Maybe your year was great and it was far better than you imagined 2022 would be. Perhaps 2022 was a dumpster fire for you and you are cautious about 2023 and praying for Jesus to return. I encourage you to take some notes today.

We will take inventory in several areas of our lives and how we fared in 2022. This is not a performance tracking tool. In fact, our review of the year is more of a reflection….

  • Spiritual: What did you learn about God this year? If you had a theme for the year, now is the time to establish one (my post from a year ago) for the New Year. Take note of what spiritual practices worked (and didn’t) this year. Maybe you need to pray more or perhaps you need to serve on less committees and feed your soul more.
  • Financial/Career: Check your bank account and your budget. This will tell you where your priorities were for 2022. Do you need to make more money, eliminate debt, or both? On the flip side, what keeps you at the job you are at? If you are only at your job for the cash, you are slowly killing your soul.
  • Emotional/Mental: How is your mental health? Everyone handles their mental health differently and know that there are many tools out there if you need them.
  • Relational: Evaluate your love life/friendships. Do you like where these are and are they healthy or toxic? Are YOU healthy or toxic to others? Check your heart from this past year and if it needs more healing.
  • Physical: How did you take care of your body this year? Find an exercise regimen that works for you. Even a daily walk will be good for you mentally and physically.

This post is just a sample of how we will tackle Ending the Year Strong. Stay tuned, friends!