“Looking Ahead” by “Looking Back” and “Looking Up” – and How we can accomplish those 2015 goals

I can now officially say that the 2014 Christmas season has come to a close for the Walker family {only about 10 days later than most of you – haha}. My sweet husband helped me pack up everything yesterday and our house is now sporting that “empty” look that follows Christmas. I already miss the tree and the hundreds of memories hanging for us to enjoy.  It’s been a busy but sweet season, the last of the kind that we’ve known as normal, and I’ve loved every moment of it.

Before the Christmas season started, we had our annual family meeting where each person got to voice their opinions and desires for what they would like to experience during the holiday.  They always indulge me in this shared their favorite and least favorite parts of last year and their preferences for this season.  Over the years I’ve learned that having everyone answer some questions takes the guess work out of my job as mama-holiday-planner-experience-provider-of-the-home.  It allows me to focus on what is really important to the family and let go of the things that aren’t… those things that might look great on Pinterest and in Christmas movies, but that don’t mean too much to my own little brood.  Some years they fill out a short questionnaire, while other years I take notes interview style.  It’s been fun to look over their answers as the years have rolled by, knowing that the traditions they treasure will be a treasure of my own as the nest empties.

We were a few days behind in doing it, but the same type of questions we asked and answered about Christmas, we asked and answered about 2014 and 15.  Though they indulge me in this they might complain a bit about it at the time, it’s valuable to me in seeing what the family considers important and/or memorable.  This also helps us gain some insight into the little things that could become the most treasured, and serves as a compass when a decision must be made between the good and the best.

This year we answered fill in the blank questions like:
~ My favorite experience was:
~My favorite place I went was:
~My favorite meal was:
~My favorite thing to do on a free day was:
~My favorite book, movie, tv show, game, etc was:
~One way I’d like to grow in 2015 is:
~This year I want to continue to:
~This year I want to try to:
~This year I want to stop:
~This year I’d like to:
~This year my goals are:
~This year my spiritual goals are:

After sharing our answers, we spent some time talking about what needs to take place in order to accomplish each of our goals.

I said all of that to say this:

The bottom line for each of us (in our family) in achieving the goals we’ve set before us this year is that we must all choose to die to self.  And this is oh, so hard!  It’s something I’m constantly battling without tons of victory these days… but I press on toward the goal.

In thinking of any God-given goal… isn’t that the bottom line for each of us?  We must all choose to die to self…

Jesus said in Luke 9:23, “If any of you want to walk My path, you’re going to have to deny yourself. You’ll have to take up your cross every day and follow Me.”  (The Voice)

The Amplified explains this concept a bit more: “And He said to all, If any person wills to come after Me, let him deny himself [disown himself, forget, lose sight of himself and his own interests, refuse and give up himself] and take up his cross daily and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying also].”  Luke 9:23, AMP

The selfish flesh is a ravenous wolf that must literally be starved to death!  My problem is that I’m powerless on my own to say “no” to myself on a consistent basis.  I’ll start off strong and determined, but soon grow weary of the battle, then lazily justify giving in.  Ugh!

That’s why Philippians 2:13 is such an important verse on which to cling, especially when we are striving to honor God with our choices for this new year.

How to actually meet those "New Year - New You" goals.  Phil. 2:13.  SmellingCoffee.com

How to actually meet those “New Year – New You” goals. Phil. 2:13. SmellingCoffee.com

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”  Phil. 2:13, NLT

The Desire – Already got that!

The Power? – Desperately need that!

The Good News? – God promises to give the Power as much as He promises to give the Desire.  Selah.

It’s not our personal power that will help us achieve the transformation God desires for us this year… It’s our dependence upon God’s Power enabling us to submit and obey that will bring victory.  It’s stopping before every decision to ask the Lord for strength to obey Him and choose His way above our own.  It’s choosing, by God’s strength, to starve the wolfish flesh and to feed the Spirit instead.

Oh, how I wish this were easier!!! How I wish I were better at this!!!  And How I long for this to be my default instead of my struggle!!!

Praise the Lord that He sees us through His love and grace, instead of through our sins and failures!  Whew!

So as we all consider, pray about, and plan for our “new selves” in this “new year” my prayer for us all is that we would know the fullness of God’s Redemption, Power, and Grace… as beautifully penned by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 1:2-6.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.

So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.

Ephesians 1:2-6, NLT

We praise God for the glorious grace He has poured out on us who belong to His dear Son… God’s Grace that empowers us with God’s Strength that enables us to do what pleases Him.  Its how we will be able to accomplish those goals and plans set before us in 2015.  As hard as it might be, I’m so glad that it is God’s Perfect Power that we can depend upon and that we aren’t on our own… because He never fails!

Psalm 73:26  SmellingCoffee.com

Psalm 73:26 SmellingCoffee.com

Praising our Gracious, Glorious Lord ~



About SmellingCoffee

I'm a Jesus-loving, husband-loving, family-loving minister's wife and mom to two college kids, making our home and serving our Lord in the Mississippi Delta. I study, teach, speak, and write for the greatest Boss in the universe. "Faith, Family, Food, Fun, and Living Life brewed in the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus Christ in every place": That's what you'll find at SmellingCoffee.com


  1. I L O V E this post! Oh my word it speaks to my heart. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. And I so love the idea of interviewing our family each season {I did that this Christmas bc of you}…. I learned from that — so much of what I was stressing out to do my family didn’t even want! But –>> I did not ask the questions about the coming year and I am so going to do that!!! Oh this business of dying to ourselves is such a challenge – esp in today’s world — May we all seek to glorify God, choose Him and not seek only to satisfy our flesh. Love you Friend!!!!