Saturday, January 2, 2010

Redemption and a New Start

Happy New Year! It's 2010...can you believe it? It seems like we just ushered in the new millineum and yet when I look back over the past ten years I see how many things have radically changed for me and my family and I know it took years to arrive where I am today. I bet you can say the same. Interesting thing about the New Year is it represents the traditional time when many people re-evaluate their lives and themselves and make resolutions to become better persons with more productive habits. I know for my husband and my kids we always put together our individual lists entitled "goals for the new year". Somehow setting goals makes more sense to me than getting rid of old habits or trading them for new ones. The good news is this: it doesn't matter how you approach it, goals or resolutions, we all have a chance to start over. And not just on January 1st! Christ came so that we could have a new start minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, or year by year. In Philippians 3:12-14 St.Paul shares with us how he regarded his past and faced his future: "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
Are you holding on to something from your past that is keeping you from a brilliant, productive future? Maybe it is time to clean out the cobwebs of your soul and start fresh.
Before the Christmas holidays we were discussing my husband's new book, "Leaning Into God When Life Is Pushing You Away." We talked about guilt and how it can keep you from a close relationship with God and others. Today I will address the issue of shame. The psychologist Norman Wright wrote that the difference between guilt and shame is that guilt says "I made a mistake" while shame says "I am a mistake." I have also heard it said "I did something bad" vs. "I am bad." Shame can cut us to the very core and it can draw a deep line which separates us from our loving God who wants to have a relationship with us. It can make us feel like we are unworthy of such a relationship and so we continue to hide or run away from God instead of leaning into Him.
The first people to ever deal with shame were Adam and Eve. I'm sure you know the story. They disobeyed God by eating from the tree of good and evil and then they felt deep shame. It was so bad that even they hid from God but of course no one can hide from God for long. He knows everything. God opened their eyes to the fact that they were without clothes but He also provided a way out for them by providing them with clothes. He always provides a way to escape from our shame. In the new testament Peter denied Christ and yet when Jesus first saw Peter again following the betrayal how did Jesus respond to him? He told him to " take care of my lambs, take care of my sheep, feed my sheep." John 21:15-17 He was telling Peter not to waste his time on the guilt or shame of his past mistakes but instead he told him what to do so that he could face his future with a purpose for living.
I believe a major way to get rid of the shame in your life is to make sure you are fulfilling your God-given purpose. (I also must say, depending on the your circumstances you may even need to seek psychological counseling) Once you know your purpose you will be so busy fulfilling it at work, with your family, with your friends, and in all aspects of your life that you won't have time to entertain the negative thoughts of your past failures and mistakes. If you aren't sure what your purpose is I want to encourage you to take the steps necessary so you can find out. From there you can write your own personal mission statement. My life's mission and purpose is this: "Connecting people one to another for common, Christ-centered, worthwhile goals." Since I know what my purpose is I can rest assured that no matter how my outside life circumstances might change as long as I follow my calling, I can find purpose. A book that helped me write my mission statement was "The Path" by Laurie Beth Jones. I did this a few years ago and I am sure by now there are plenty of other good resources. Although it might take you some time to get your mission statement down to something meaningful yet concise. Believe me , it will be worth the effort.
Discover the purpose for your life and you will grown even closer to God knowing that He is your partner through all things. Also, remember that God keeps no record of wrongs so each minute you can start fresh. Wishing you great things in 2010 or "Begin again in 2010."
God is blessing you always in all things, Donna


  1. I have always looked at my life goals in at least three parts; 1)Now 2) A short to medium-time range goal and 3) A long range overall goal.

    Perhaps, I have not put this in perspective of a Life Goal and I think I should do that rather than assuming my present short and long term goals will have accomplished what I think my Life Mission can or should be.

    You have given me a good task, Donna! I know I answered another blogsite suggesting Big and Important objectives for 2010 and I decided I would make 2010 a time for Bold and Impact making endeavours; this on the basis that while I feel I have done some important things over my life so far, I have played it a bit safe...too safe and I am at a stage where I think HE has prepared me to do some things boldly that will make an Impact. I don't know what or exactly how but I know it is facing me as it always is for us all I think. I will be more open and I do not think it is something buried. I just will see what is no doubt staring me in the face and I will then take the proverbial Leap of Faith! It is never too late when the objective is good as is this task you have suggested, Donna!

    Great Blog to nudge me forward well!

    Happy New Year to all!


  2. I have no goals set for the 2010 at the end of the old year. Goeals I set as well during the year. I always want to achieve to be a better person. In the past I had the habit to get in rage quickly and haveing no pacience. Years past by and I realized with this I can't live anymore. It came all fom my childhoud, never being accepted from my parencts for whom I am. I can forgive them, but not at all easy. Because I saw it on our recent holidays, I made the kitchen and the chores. Nothing I did right in the eyes of my mum, even she was happy to have a fulltime help. - I'm not holding to the past! - When we feel shame we must have done something wrong. It's better we think about the thing that we do not repeat it. - We always should lean into God, no matter in witch circumstances we are, good or bead. Donna it's never to late to start something new when the past diden't brought us to the place we want to be. To connect people in the love of Christ and bring them this kind of way together is not an easy action. I know so many people they do not want to hear of the Bible and Church services. They know how I came closer to God, accept it that's all. - I hope I answered to all of your points in your wonderful entry. - New Year's Blessings Rose

  3. Hi To Jean-Michael and Rosemarie!
    Thanks for your latest comments. To "annonymous" I am sorry but I don't know what happened to your nice comment. I approved it but now I noticed that it is not listed here. Please comment again and join our weekly blog church! I really appreciate our discussions here. J.M. you are right that we should have both short term and long term goals. That is important otherwise I know I can get so discouraged when things aren't progressing the way I think they should! Short term assures the long term. I am glad that I gave you some food for thought.
    R.M for sure it is never too late to start over!
    We can all get closer to becoming the person we want to be by praying and then doing the work necessary to reach our goals/dreams. It is not for us to know how things will turn out but it is important for us to try to get there. My husband used to talk about "Think 100" with the idea that if we think we are going to live to be 100 (it could now be called "Think 120!") how much more could we accomplish with our lives. Too many people just quit living. Not us...right?! Happy New Year! Donna

  4. My goal for 2010? To stay close to myself.
    And stay in a close relationship with Jesus.
    To be honest, I'm still in an unreal situation.
    The void that's created by the loss of my job and co workers,it scares me a bit, although I trust that God will open another window for me.

    Wish you all a Happy New Year!


  5. Too many people just quit living. Not us... No , no Donna! I live even I have some obstacles to overcom. - Blessings, Rose

  6. Thank you Donna! I love the scripture portion. I'm learning more and more what it means to "press on." For me, I'm discovering that pressing toward my goal takes effort and discomfort at times. But that's where happiness ultimately lies. I'm awed by that simple statement by Paul and the wisdom in it. I have to stay conscious of my goals and "press" into them or they won't happen.

  7. Sorry for the mis-spelling Jan-Michael!! :D

  8. Hey Donna, I appreciate your in-depth blogs and the time you spend to explain, so not to worry if you mis-spelled my name. Actually, my name Jan is Dutch for John and Jean is French for John. I now use Jan-Michael, combining my given names as there are so many females who use Jan for Janet, Janice. etc and my wife had so many Jan's as friends I chose to go with Jan-Michael which I always preferred anyway. Thank you for posting that you saw the error, I appreciate it and it gives me a chance to say how your kind spirit in the post of a correction is further evidence of just how caring you are and we all know and will not bother over a typo or quickly typed post with an error.

    I did find a need that required a BOLD approach and it will make an IMPACT though not in a publicly recognized way. It will take a while and I cannot explain further at this time but it was amazing that the need just was there all along and I have sent a fax off to the parties that will be needed to make a change that will help a lot of families eventually. Just wanted to post that part and it could impeed the success if I put more detail at this time.

    With HIS LOVE and my prayers for you and yours

  9. Donna: First of all, love the updated look of your page. Looks great! Great thoughts. I also used The Path to help me write my mission statement. But, in truth, it took almost a couple years to complete it...once I had a better sense of who I was. Great recommendation! Happy New Year! I always miss not being with you on NY Eve. You guys make it so specials with your traditions. love, Ang

  10. The one thing that I wanted to
    start off the New Year with was
    a new dog. I had reason to believe that God would lead me to a "Special Needs" dog. This is what has happened. Next to me as, I type this out, is our very intelligent new dog. We got her yesterday afternoon she
    is a Corgi cross. She has some
    health problems including a slight problem with her heart
    She is reacting to our love for
    her already. I know that God is
    going to give Len and I the
    knowledge etc so that these
    problems that she has will be
    cured. God bless you all
    Barbie M

  11. Hi Barbie: I am so happy for you both with your new dog. I can feel the love you are giving her. And I believe the love between you and Len and the dog will be a healing gift for all. When God choose a family for a special needs dog. Is like when he choose a family for a special child. He has his plan and his reason. God Bless You All

  12. Hi Everyone: Like Ria I have a few things that scare me a bit. But I do know you just have to tell yourself that your faith in the Lord is strong and look back and see where he came through for you every time. Maybe not right away but as I go through my journal. I said see look at that you just have to be patient. And a couple of times it all happen in away I did not except. But it was what I had prayed for. I now look to the new year and know there will be ups and downs but that is life and it keeps us close to the Lord. May all of you keep strong faith through this year. And God Bless You All.

  13. Dear friends, Jan-Michael, Rosemarie, Ria, rakrause, Angie, Barbie, cysradill, and others who don't comment but read...
    We all have different goals and some are between God and ourselves. Remember not to compare yourself with others and to start by praying and asking God what He wants from you. Sometimes our purpose gets confused with what others expect from us, by the messages we think we hear based on our past experiences. I have found a great tool from a Christian psychologist/psychiatrist who lives right here in OC. His name is Dr. Daniel Amen and he is a brain specialist. In one of his books called "Change Your Brain, Change Your Life" he gives a great teaching on goal setting which he calls "the one page miracle." You can google that phrase and a printable worksheet will come up. If you are having difficulties coming up with goals I encourage you to do so. Large or small, goals are important.
    I will be doing a video blog on the next part of Robert's book in the next couple of days.
    Again, Happy New Year!
    God is blessing you, Donna

  14. Donna, I never compare with others. I set my goals to the possibilities and abilities I have. I'm an individual person, unique. If I would wish to be somebodyelse it dosen't come out good at the end. God is blessing you, Rose

  15. rakrause said...
    "Thank you Donna! I love the scripture portion. I'm learning more and more what it means to "press on." For me, I'm discovering that pressing toward my goal takes effort and discomfort at times. But that's where happiness ultimately lies. I'm awed by that simple statement by Paul and the wisdom in it. I have to stay conscious of my goals and "press" into them or they won't happen".
    Great to find you here "rakrause" and I too am awed by those words of Paul. I too must stay the course that I feel He wants me to follow.

    I had a bit of a break and prayer time to get my plans for 2010 together and it feels good to be here and find you and others like Cyrasdill, Barbie and Ria etc etc. Can't list all and hope that Donna's followers grow in number.

    I see Donna has a place to invite people I did not see before and I have asked friends not to just be a member of Blogger but join as a follower. I think I have that right. Anyway, looking forward to seeing the positive growth of the Donna followers in 2010!

    Blessing across the world, everyone!


  16. Good thoughts. God Bless you and your family. Trust that 2010 will be a great year.

  17. Donna,
    Your blog has really got me digging deep, trying to figure out my 2010 goals. This is going to be a challenge. I have so many things I need to work on or improve in my life right now. Thanks for your blog, it has given me alot to think about. I hope your Christmas was wonderful. Congratulations on the birth of your grandchild and may the New Year bring you and Robert happiness and fulfillment. By the way, I LOVED his new program Everyday Life!


Thank you for taking the time to comment on my blog. Please try to stay on the topic and remember also that there are many who are struggling through all kinds of challenges. Let's all be kind and thoughtful with our comments please! :D