Planning Our Future
"Every January I resolve to get fit," Marty told me in late December.
"So what happens?"
"I fail before the first of February."
Many of us, like Marty, start each January with the decision to defeat the problems that tripped us in the past.
I like that idea—forgetting all the foolish and wrong things we said and did, and uniting our energies to move ahead this year.
Yes, I like the idea.
It's not possible for most people, but it's still a good idea.
The past remains part of our lives. The mistakes of the previous year don't disappear. We resolve not to repeat them, and we can build on the shame of previous blunders to correct our present and future actions.
Think of Marty again. He doesn't really plan for his future because he's still tied to the past failures. It's the cliché, "I've failed every time I tried." He hasn't changed and he'll do the same things this year that he did all the other times.
Most of us don't openly admit it but we figure in the past when we stand in the present and project an elegant future. But the previous failures haunt us and it doesn't take long for most individuals to say, "It's futile." Those old fiascos paralyze us or make us doubt we can change.
My friend Ron Heiber has a saying that resonates with me: "God never consults our past when planning our future." That means our loving God forgives us. And with that is implied, "Go and sin no more."
What if we thought of life that way? What if we were able to start each year as if it were new and unblemished? We wouldn't worry about what we didn't do previously or how we aborted our best plans. We'd be able to focus only on what we can do now—and do it with a fresh start.
"God never consults our past when planning our future," Ron said.
"I don't have to remember my past when I plan my future," we can say.