一元復始 萬象更新

By Robert J. Tamasy

任何時刻都是重新開始的最好時機,不會太早--或太晚。尤其在新年度的開始更會激勵我們為重新出發而努力,不論是增加精力去達成長期尋求的目標,或因舊的方式行不通而決定改變作法。

2016年1月1日即將來臨,我們許多人會想到鼓舞自己下決心以及定目標。例如:「這一 年我要做…」或「從新的一年開始,我不再…」因為此刻我們覺得自己正陷在一個沒有出路的工作中,沒有甚麼成就感,也沒有甚麼前景可預期;又或許我們延宕了一個重要的再教育步驟,一個在專業上可以打開新局面的步驟。

那可能是在人際關係的領域,想要努力經營好婚姻,想要與其他家庭成員建立更緊密的關係…。財務處理也可能是我們的焦點,改變花錢的習慣,減少債務或脫離負債;開始積極儲蓄並投資,以便為將來的需要甚至是退休做準備。

我們考慮要有新開始的清單可能很長--運動健身;飲食習慣;休閒活動;處理情緒問題,例如憤怒、焦慮、害怕、缺乏動力、沒有耐心。或者靈命成長,想要在信心上成長並成熟,尤其是在我們每天的生活環境與責任中,應用並活出我們所相信的真理。

遺憾的是,對於目標若沒有清楚計畫如何去追求,有時好的意圖仍會被導向死胡同,或可能帶來更多挫折。這就是為何目標不僅是理想的渴望,更應該要用明確、可測量、可完成的方式來規劃。同時,定期評估進展也是必須的,找個可督促我們的對象對此大有幫助,邀請我們所尊敬且關心我們的人,定期追蹤我們為達成目標所改善的計劃進展得如何。以下是一些考慮的原則:

為你的目標尋求上帝的指引。雖然我們有能力去進行聽起來合理的計劃,但最好事先尋求上帝的意見,祂是我們的大設計師,祂比我們更知道應該怎麼做。我們應該以祂看為合適的時候取消我們的決定,或改變我們的方向。「你所作的,要交託耶和華,你所謀的,就必成立」(箴言16章3節﹚。「人心籌算自己的道路;惟耶和華指引他的腳步」(箴言16章9節﹚。

徵求協助以達成你的目標。在企圖達成重要目標時,我們難免需要鼓勵、支持以及來自好朋友的究責。智慧的意見能幫助我們有好的開始,並且維持在正確的軌道上。「無智謀,民就敗落;謀士多,人便安居。」(箴言11章14節﹚。「鐵磨鐵,磨出刃來; 朋友相感也是如此」(箴言27章17節﹚。

不斷地向目標邁進。當目標需要花許多時間和精力才能達成時,我們常常會因為氣餒而灰心並失焦。就像一個長跑選手,我們必須將「終點線」放在心中,而不是只關注途中的勞累。「向著標竿直跑,要得上帝在基督耶穌裏從上面召我來得的獎賞」(腓立比書3章14節﹚。

勞勃.泰默西是領袖資產協會的傳播部副部長,這是一個總部在美國喬治亞州亞特蘭大的非營利組織。

省思/討論題目
在每一個新年的開始你是否會設定目標,或下決心要做甚麼事?若有,你為明年訂下甚麼目標? 你對新的開始有何看法?若要採用新的方式做事,你是否很難拋棄舊規(例如:工作內容、傳統觀念、習慣方法、思想模式 )? 你是否曾經虎頭蛇尾,一開始做得很好,後來卻不了了之,無法完成?你想過為何會如此?未來你要如何避免這樣的失敗? 當你在生命的某一個特別領域中準備要有一個新的開始時,是否看到上帝在其中扮演的角色?在你訂立目標和計劃時,是否覺得要分辨哪些是上帝的指引是件困難的事?註:若你有聖經且想要讀更多有關此主題的經文,請參考以下經節:以賽亞書43章19節;以西結書36章26節;馬可福音2章22節;哥林多後書5章17節;啟示錄21章5節

THE END OF AN OLD YEAR CAN MEAN A NEW BEGINNING
By Robert J. Tamasy

It is never too soon – or too late – for making a fresh start. And something about the onset of a new calendar year inspires us to strive for a new beginning, either by redoubling our efforts to achieve a long-sought goal, or making needed changes because the old ways for doing things have not worked.

So with January 1, 2016 bearing down on us, many of us find ourselves thinking about resolutions and goals, along with decisions like, “This is the year I am going to…,” or “Starting the first of next year, I will no longer….” Maybe we feel stuck in a dead-end job, offering little fulfillment and no prospects for advancement. Perhaps there is an important educational step we have delayed, one that could open up new opportunities professionally.

It might be in the realm of relationships, determining to make an effort to strengthen a marriage or build bonds with other family members. Financial concerns could be our focus – needing to change spending habits, reducing or becoming freed from debt, or embarking on an aggressive savings and investment program to prepare for future needs or even retirement.

The list of areas where we could consider forging a new beginning can be long – physical fitness; eating habits; leisure activities; addressing emotional concerns such as anger, anxiety, fear, lack of motivation, impatience. Or spiritual growth, desiring to grow and mature in faith, especially in applying and living out what we believe in everyday circumstances and responsibilities.

Unfortunately, the road of good intentions sometimes leads to a dead-end, or can result in more frustration without having a clear plan for pursuing desired objectives. This is why goals should be more than idealistic desires; they should be expressed in terms that are specific, measurable and attainable. At the same time, a commitment to review these goals on a regular basis is necessary to evaluate progress. Some form of accountability can be helpful, inviting people we respect and who care for us to periodically ask how we are doing in an area where we wish to see change. Here are some principles to consider:

Seek God”s direction for your goals. We all have the capacity for developing ideas that sound reasonable, but it is always best to consult first with God, the Master Planner, who knows better than we what to do. We should be willing for Him to overrule and redirect as He sees fit. “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed” (Proverbs 16:3). “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).

Enlist help in achieving your goals. In our quest to reach important goals, we all need encouragement, support, and accountability from valued friends and associates. Wise counsel also can help us to get off to a good start and stay on track. “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure” (Proverbs 11:14). “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).

Keep pursuing the goal. When a cherished goal takes much time and effort to achieve, it is not unusual to lose heart and focus, bowing to the weight of discouragement. So like a long-distance runner, we must keep the “finish line” in mind, ignoring the strains along the way. “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

© 2015. Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
Do you set goals or try to formulate resolutions at the start of each new year? If you have any of these for this coming year, what are they? What do you think about new beginnings – how difficult is it for you to part with the old (jobs, traditions, habits, thought patterns, etc.), and engage in new ways and approaches for doing things? Have you ever fallen victim to your own good intentions – starting off well, but failing to follow through to completion? If so, why do you think this occurred? And what can you do in the future to avoid failure to fulfill your desires? What role – if any – do you envision God having as you seek to get off to a renewed start in a particular area of your life? How difficult do you find it to discern God”s direction as you seek to formulate goals and plans?NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Isaiah 43:19; Ezekiel 36:26; Mark 2:22; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Revelation 21:5

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