The Next Phase of Me

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by Suzanne D. Williams

As I put away the ribbons and bows, sweep up the shreds of wrapping paper, and the year comes tumbling to a close, I take a seat at the window and look squarely at the last twelve months. In my next breath, I turn my heart toward the future.

I’ve never been one to make resolutions, but I do set goals. Last year, I had one goal in my heart – new opportunities. I sort-of stepped in that direction, but it feels more like I stuck the tip of my toe in the water, trembling. Taking a new route toward a different location isn’t my best thing. I like the same-old, same-old, day-in and day-out walking the path I’ve walked 1,000 times before.

Problem is, that isn’t a good way to grow. Growth requires being uncomfortable for a time and, often, choosing to do so on purpose. For me, it means introducing myself to people, which, as simple as that sounds, is pure torture. I’m good at second guessing my every word, sure I’ve said the wrong thing.

Growth also means not putting down roots for long. I love roots. I love to sit in a chair until it forms to me, the cushion creased where I lean this way or that. But not-growing can become a bad habit, and avoided long enough, whether out of fear or pride, you become stagnant and, at some point, filled with regret. Regret is a growth-killer. Not only will it keep you looking backwards, you won’t move ahead either, and handled long enough, it turns to bitterness which will send you in reverse. Now, you’re not where you were or where you want to be but starting over even more unsure of yourself. (Num 11:5; Heb 12:15)

In hindsight, there are things I’d do differently next year, areas where I need to stand stronger, be more patient and more kind. Unfortunately, such hindsight only comes through experience. I had to make the mistakes and then admit to them first to gain it. Growth asks me to do differently next time, which brings me to that discomfort again. Because not everything I don’t want to do is awkward outwardly, where others can see it. Sometimes, the person who’s quivering is just me.

But I stand, knowing for every ending, the beginning is right around the corner, each step I make that much further away from the all those things I shouldn’t have done, what I shouldn’t have said, how shouldn’t have reacted, and closer to where I want to be. I find comfort that I am not the same, having reached the end. I can begin the next phase of me better than I was, wiser, though still not wise enough.

Greatest of all, I do not walk alone, but hand-in-hand with God, guided by the Holy Spirit to handle whatever comes my way next year with clarity and reserve. Calmness. Forethought. I will set down the things I should not carry and pick up the tasks He has for me, however odd they make me feel. I will run the race with patience and emerge at the finish line, having overcome my qualms and fought off the fiery darts of the enemy. (Heb 12:1; Eph 6:16)

Because God is for me, and I’ve placed my trust in Him. I will not be afraid but, twelve months from now, when I consider these things again, be satisfied with where I am. I cannot pray for anything greater than that. (Ps 56:9; Ps 91:2, 5, 16)

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A Little Christmas Magic

About The Author:

Suzanne D. WilliamsBest-selling author, Suzanne D. Williams, is a native Floridian, wife, mother, and photographer. She is the author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She writes devotionals and instructional articles for various blogs. She also does graphic design for self-publishing authors. She is co-founder of THE EDGE.

To learn more about what she’s doing and check out her extensive catalog of stories, visit www.feelgoodromance.com or link with her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/suzannedwilliamsauthor or on Twitter at twitter.com/SDWAuthor.

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