Snow skiing is a passion of mine. How can you miss? Packed with adventure, stunning scenery, crisp air, skiing is something you can enjoy going either with friends or alone. Bottom line, skiing is fitness at its finest. Being rather adventuresome, there have been times I have gotten myself onto slopes that were more than a challenge, they terrified me. As I started down those slopes, I didn’t know that I was about to be in over my head. It was generally midway down the mountain that I make this discovery. As I head down those difficult slopes, it might be a fall that stops me, or I simply freeze up seeing what lies ahead. It is in those moments that I stop, look back, and take in what I have already skied down. The irony in those moments is that I discover that I what I have already accomplished, was harder than what is ahead of me. New Year’s Eve is my pause on the ski slope moment, which readies me for the year ahead.
Every New Year’s Eve I set my resolution for the upcoming year. Metaphorically speaking, my determinations are born on the ski slopes I have traversed the prior year; and the changes I would like to make to better my future. A sad statistic is that out of the 45% of Americans who usually make New Year’s resolutions only 8% are successful in keeping their resolve. To quote Dr. Phil, “How’s that working for you?” When we don’t take a moment to reflect on we got where we are, how can we proceed forward? Ironically, most people are dissatisfied with the lives they are leading, yet they numbly continue down the same path that is brought them to a dead end. Proverbs 26:11 says, “As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.” Disgusting, but true. In his poem “The Road Not Taken”, Robert Frost concludes his verse with, “…I shall be telling this with a sigh, Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” While it is daunting to take a new direction, make change to our lifestyle, or simply stop making bad choices the outcome is usually a positive change. Who would prefer taking the path that is beaten down with garbage strewn upon it, versus stumbling upon a glorious secret garden? Those startling finds are worth the effort it took to get there.
Philippians 3:13-14 says, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” An even more important step as taking a look back is to go forward using the wisdom we have gained by our time of reflection. In a Bible study some years back I was taught that wisdom is “truth acted upon.” In other words, we learn from our past, reflect prayerfully about those experiences, and apply wisdom in order to move forward.
Today as you prepare for the last of day of holiday festivities, find a moment to take an overview of your past year and decide what it is you would like to do to change a regretful outcome. Regret is reserved for those that do not make life change; however, courage is being afraid, yet doing it anyway. How would you like to describe your 2013, regretful or courageously victorious? The choice is yours!