5 Ways to a Better Life in 2016

January 1 has come and gone and many of us have set goals and casted visions for our 2016, but what if this year it was a little bit different. Yes, I do hope you have a “Happy New Year”, but more importantly I hope this year your life produces fulfillment and peace; and not just for yourself, but for others as well.

Peace and fulfillment are things that we can achieve every day. Jesus came to give us “life in all its fullness (John 10:10),” but many times the reality of life looks very different. We give up on our new start with the first bad, sad, or stressful day that we have and we say, “Well, I’ll try again next year.” The Apostle Paul had some great years because he learned how to be content and at peace in all his circumstances (Philippians 4). When he declared “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”, it was probably more like a whisper to himself after he had a long, bad day. Paul was saying, ‘I can be at peace and content in all things because my fulfillment is grounded in who I am in Christ, not in how my day, week, month or year went. 

So how can we find peace and contentment in all things in 2016?  I think there are five ways:

Define Your


Reality in Light of God’s Promises

Isaiah 43 says that there will be times of heat. There will be times when we feel like we are drowning, but God promises that we won’t be consumed or overcome because God is with us and God loves us. Revelation 21 says that God is making all things new, wiping tears away and that one day there will be no more crying or shame. God has begun an amazing work in us and he will continue it on to completion (Philippians 1:6).

All this is to say, God is not finished with us yet and he is in the midst of our present reality. The first truth about your reality is that God is present and God is moving. So ask yourself: What is your present reality? Is life tough? Frustrating? Stagnant? Where is God in that reality?

Define Your


  Reality (Where Do You Want to Be)?

Jesus does offer a life of fulfillment and peace, but he does not guarantee an easy life. Rather, Jesus offers purpose and meaning. If your life was filled with purpose and meaning coming from God, what would it look like? Would you live a healthier life? Would you be kinder to those around you? Would you have more self-confidence?

In order to achieve your desired reality you’ve got to realize a few things about your present reality. You have to acknowledge the tools that you have in your toolbox.  What are my strengths?  Am I willing to claim them?  Also, who are the people in my corner.  Do I have an encourager?  Do I have a challenger; someone who pushes me and tells me the truth no matter what?  Are the people most important to me supportive of the transformation I’m trying to allow God to make?

What obstacles am I going to have to face?  The biggest one is probably your mindset.  That voice in the back of your head that says:

  • You can’t,
  • You tried this before
  • You’re too _________.
Define where you want to be and define what is standing in the way of that desired reality. From there, you can start to make a plan in the right direction.

“Goals become more than just accomplishments when God is placed at the center of them.”


What Steps Can I take to Move Toward this Desired Reality?

For me it is tweaking my finances, organizational patterns and physical health. In those areas I’ve identified a few basic steps I can take that can relieve a ton of stress and lead to peace.

But here is the kicker…goals aren’t just about you; especially, if you are Christian.  How are the goals you are setting going to lead you closer to God? If I adjust my finances in order to be a better steward of the resources God gave me, I might very well feel more at peace. But am I using the extra money I see from those adjustment to glorify God? Am I giving more away? If I am healthy, I will feel better and have more energy. But am I using some of that energy to serve others? If I organize my time better, I will be less stressed. But am I spending that extra time I now have in the right places? Your goals should produce more than just biceps and abs. They should produce heart…God’s heart. So in whatever goals you set this year, look beyond yourself; look to God and look to others as well.

Finding God Through Your Goals

In no way does the failure to meet your goal make you less of a Christian. God is going to love you if you eat three big macs a day or if you run three miles a day. Goals become more than just accomplishments when God is placed at the center of them. By asking the question, “How can I grow closer to God with this goal?” we are placing God at the center. When that happens it becomes more than just a trophy we can place on our shelf; it becomes part of the work that God is completing in us. When our goals bring us closer to God’s heart, that provides peace and contentment not just for us, but for the world God is restoring with this new start.
Posted 01/06/2016