"Brothers, 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, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." — Philippians 3:13-14
At the end of the year, we fall into one of two categories: We are either sad or glad the year is over. I have asked thousands of people this question at the end of the year, and over 90% are glad it is over—ready to put the year behind them. They are D-O-N-E with how the year turned out, and they want a clean slate. They are ready for a fresh start to a new year! However, there is a remnant of people who are sad the year is over. It was more than they ever imagined—full of blessings, victories and accomplishments. They would redo the year if possible!
So: Are you sad or glad 2022 is ending? Your answer could be a result of the choices and decisions you made, or it could be circumstances out of your control as to why it was a good or bad year. As we look back, for most of us, it comes down to our own daily choices and decisions we made. We find ourselves on the “Road to Reward” or the “Road to Regret.”
The “Road to Reward” is a satisfying place where you know you’ve made a difference, built a legacy, developed strong relationships and established a lasting influence. The “Road to Reward” is filled with impact, significance and transformation.
Alternatively, the “Road to Regret” is the opposite. It’s an unsettling place where you wish you had done things differently. There is unrealized potential, missed opportunities and broken relationships. The “Road to Regret” is paved with complacency, selfishness and excuses. The “Road to Regret” uses words like should’ve, would’ve and could’ve.
The decisions we make today will determine the stories we will tell tomorrow!
The story we are telling about 2022 is a result of the decisions we made throughout the year. The decisions we made yesterday are the stories we are telling today. And the decisions we make today will determine the stories we tell tomorrow.
Let’s fast forward to the end of 2023. It is December 31, 2023. What story do you want to tell? All of us want to tell a story filled with hope, joy, blessing, transformation and impact; not one of regret, pain, shame and guilt.
In Philippians 3:13-14, Paul strains, strides and stretches toward what is ahead. He forgets what is behind and presses forward toward the goal that God has put before him. What a powerful picture! Just like Paul, God has put a new year before us. As we look ahead, let’s anticipate 12 months that God does the impossible and brings Heaven to Earth.
“Standing between two years is a good place to evaluate our lives. Looking back, we remember the year that has passed — its delights and disappointments fresh in our memories. Looking around, we see clearly where we are — able to make good choices based on our actual circumstances. And looking ahead, we anticipate another twelve months that hold the possibilities of high hopes and new dreams.” — Chuck Swindoll
For some of us, the way 2022 turned out was not a result of decisions we made. Instead, it was a result of circumstances out of our control. Our responsibility is how we respond to those circumstances. Oswald Chambers reminds us of our responsibility:
“We are not responsible for the circumstances we are in, but we are responsible for the way we allow those circumstances to affect us; we can either allow them to get on top of us, or we can allow them to transform us into what God wants us to be.”
Andriy Kravtsov is a walking, living example of allowing God to transform him into what God wants him to be. Andriy is our Divisional Vice President of Europe and Eurasia. He was attending our all-staff FCA conference in San Antonio, Texas, this past February and two days after arriving, his country, Ukraine, was attacked. He has been in the U.S. ever since, along with 30 FCA Ukraine staff, spouses and children.
What story do you think he is telling about 2022?
Today, I was leading a Zoom training with Andriy for 100 leaders from around the world. He shared a powerful insight: He first felt like a refugee stuck in a foreign country when war broke out. But he took the Apostle Paul’s advice and decided to strain forward, changing his refugee mindset into a missionary mindset. Instead of survival mode, he went into in serving mode. His story is now that God put him in the U.S. in 2022 to serve as a missionary and raise over $1 million for staff, coaches and athletes in Ukraine and surrounding countries who are in desperate need of help. His story is one of hope, blessing, victory, rescue and healing.
The question is: What story do you want to tell at the end of 2023? Remember the decisions you make today will determine the story you tell tomorrow. Even in light of the crazy circumstances out of Andriy’s control, the decisions he made allowed him to tell his story of blessing about 2022.
Let’s be ready to be used by God in supernatural ways in 2023. We have to be willing to embrace the circumstances God puts us in that need a miracle. I want to tell a God-story about 2023. How about you?
Lord, as I start 2023, I ask that You make it a life-changing breakthrough year. I don’t want just a good-year but a God-year. May You mark it with Your power and presence. Strengthen me every day. May this year be the best year ever! In Jesus’ name, amen.