Sunday, December 27, 2009

Beginnings and Endings

Do you wish you could have a “do-over,” or what golfers call a “mulligan”? Often I hear people say, “If I could do things over, I would….” I’ve thought the same thing myself from time to time. But the harsh reality is what’s done is done – and can’t be undone.

That does not resign us to hopelessness, however. Recently one of my daughters sent me the following thought:

“Nobody can start a new beginning, but you can start today and make a new ending.”

That says although we don’t get a “do-over,” we can have a “do better” or “do differently” in the future. Approaching the start of a new year, that’s sound advice.

Annually I review the year just past as well as write goals for the new year in several areas, including work, family, mental and physical fitness, finances, hobbies, and spiritual growth. They are goals – something to strive for over the course of the year – rather than resolutions that might amount to nothing more than promises to myself that I cannot or choose not to keep.

In some respects, Jan. 1 is not much different from Dec. 31, except the numerical designation for the year changes. But it does serve as a convenient time to reassess where you’ve been, reevaluate where you want to go, and determine how best to get there.

The apostle Paul knew about starting today to make a new ending. In Philippians 3:13 he declared, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize….”

In other letters he acknowledged errors in his past, but refused to dwell on them. He could not undo what had been done, but he could determine to make better decisions in the future. And so should we.

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