January is a time for life changes, behavior modification, and New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps this year you have decided to focus on your health, eat less pie, eat more fruit (or cake!), spend less time on social media, spend more time with family, accumulate less stuff (now that Christmas is over!), create more memories, spend less time griping and complaining about people, spend more time worshipping God. I love a picture I saw recently about a guy who makes the comment, “My New Year’s resolution is to stop lying to myself about making lifestyle changes.” Maybe 2017 needs to be a year when we simply get honest with ourselves and cut ourselves some slack.
As I started thinking about 2017, I was struck by a quote from an 18th century German writer, scientist, and statesman named Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Goethe encourages us to, “Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.” Dream no small dreams – now that’s something to consider at the beginning of a new year! 2017 is overflowing with opportunities to be enjoyed, days to be seized, and love to be shared. 2017 has all the potential to be another tremendous and blessed year. So here are a few tips to help you dream no small dreams in 2017:
Take the Plunge: In Matthew 3:13 to 17 we see Jesus being baptized by John in the Jordan River. This is when Jesus goes public with his plans to change and save the world. And to make these divine plans known, he literally takes the plunge. He jumps in with both feet, and he never looks back.
Time in the Saddle: My family received a Christmas ornament this year that includes the quote, “No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle” (Winston Churchill). If you want 2017 to be a year of dreaming no small dreams, then there is work to do, and work requires time in the saddle.
Stay Motivated: Of course along the way we will get frustrated and want to give up. Staying motivated can be difficult, but is possible when we remember the reason why we’re doing what we’re doing, have a strategy but remain flexible, monitor and recognize our progress, keep it fun, get the help we need, and reward ourselves along the way. The apostle Paul ministered in the name of Jesus for over thirty years. Remember…God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
A Dream Come True: And the time will come when that big dream becomes reality. What then? We celebrate! Nehemiah oversees the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls after they are destroyed by the Babylonians. When this massive project is completed, all the people gather, Ezra reads from the Law, and Nehemiah tells the crowd, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared.”
So whatever your plan is for 2017, my prayer for you is to dream no small dreams.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Steven Henry Bell