During this “Reflections” event at Bakersfield’s historic Crystal Palace, Craig Francis Harrison, MDIV, talked about moving past New Year’s resolutions and letting Jesus shine through you to lead you to the best version of yourself in 2023.
Video by Bob West Video.
It is a new year, an exciting year, a year for us to discover the Christ within us. I don’t really believe in New year’s resolutions or maybe it is more truthful that I have never kept any of them. But I do believe in finding ways of becoming the best version of myself. I do set goals as I believe goals give our lives directions.
While in Greece a few weeks ago I had plenty of quiet time and I asked myself questions like: What would I like to have happen in my life this year? What would I like to accomplish? What good would I like to attract to my life? What areas of growth, spiritually, physically, and emotionally am I seeking? What do I want love to look like this year? What do I need to detach from… people and things? What do I need to learn?
Before us lies a New Year! I saw on Facebook on Jan 1 2023 a post where a person said I think 2024 is going to be my year? I laughed he already sabotaged this year and sometimes I think we do the same. We allow negative thoughts and unresolved issues to keep us from getting excited to venture forward.
Maya Angelou said, (and I love to repeat it to myself daily) Today is a wonderful day, I have never had this one before! and we could say the same thing about the New Year. Are you ready to allow the Lord to heal you, prepare you for great things and transform you into the best version of yourself.
My determined purpose is to be my utmost for HIS highest glory- my Best honors HIM.
Being my Best Version includes embracing my own suffering, my cross. Not being a Victim but trusting that God has allowed everything in my life for HIS glory. Not an easy task. Sometimes when I play cards, my short suit allows me to “make a run” on my strong suit.
Some people are mad at you because you are not suffering the way they expected you to…May God keep on disappointing them.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Cor 12:19. I always have to remember true strength comes out of vulnerability. Being vulnerable is not weakness, but strength in my beliefs.
Hebrews 10:35-36 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
What does “Be Your Best Self” Mean? Your idea of Best self can be very different from other people’s view of your Best Version of self. Your definition is the only one that matters.
Your best version can and should change over time as you discover great truths about yourself. It is not about success but about being authentic and living out your truth.
What motivates you to be your best self? Intrinsic-is driven from inside, your beliefs and values. Think about how many of your beliefs have changed in your life, especially when you painfully learn the truth. It’s an inside job.
Extrinsic motivation is triggered by external factors…avoidance of punishment, recognition or reward. Ex: Do you want to be your best self for a raise, impress others?
1. Future self Visualization
- Know your purpose
- Catechism to know, love and serve God.
- Write them down. Like be more compassionate, and more compassionate to self!
- Eat better to be healthier and have the strength to deal with the hard times.
- Read to build my mind
- Learn more
- Exercise to be healthier
- Listen more, what most of us need is a good listening to.
- Reflect more (and not only in the mirror)
- Go deeper
- Let go of limiting beliefs
Pick one at a time and set up a plan.
2. Tackle your goals
- Turn your shoulds into musts-don’t should on yourself. leave our comfort zones-get a coach-pickleball
- Stop telling yourself what you should do and start doing it. 5 second rule.
- Start with goals that are easily attainable.
- Ex. take a walk each day (one block not 10 miles)
- Journal and you do not have to use dates
- Make a list and prioritize it
- My list…..
- Clear Mind
- Positive attitude
- No topping stories
- Let go
- Listen more
- Gratitude journal
- No complaining (or very little)
- Breathe 4 in, hold 7, out 8
- Taste food
- This too will pass
3. Stop the fear
- Fear paralyzes us
- We cannot live in Christ and fear at the same time – substitute choose not every time we say cannot. let anxiety take over
John 14:27 Peace I leave you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be AFRAID.”
Psalm 56:4 “In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust, I will not be afraid.
I have lived in fear for most of my life, (fear of dad,expressing feelings, making mistakes) I was worried for everyone and everything. It took a toll on me! I always wanted to make people happy. I never wanted anyone to not like me and I trusted everyone. I was shocked to find out how many people did not like me. I thought I was the only one who didn’t)Over the past 3 years I have learned some very painful lessons and I believe God has held me tight and taught me so much about myself.
Fear- “F” everything and run Joanism
Fear robs us of the courage we need in life and distracts us from the present moment.
Jesus told Peter to follow Him this was an external following. Later Jesus told him again Follow Me – this second call was an internal one. This is the important one when we discover the only truth, reality is Jesus and we surrender our all to HIM
What are you afraid of – write it down! Some may need a large notebook!
Use your God Box I release you with love and give you to God.
I am stronger than I thought, Disappointed in many people and institutions but the freedom I feel and the self-discovery is worth the pain and suffering. God gave St. Paul a thorn in the flesh.
2 Cor 12:7 The Lord did something much better than removing the thorn (self-discovery) He led Apul to conquer it. The ministry of thorns has often been greater than the ministry of thrones. And no I’m dyslectic!
- What sufferings do you have right now?
- Missing a child or parent or spouse that has passed?
- Dreams shattered from a Divorce?
- Were you Betrayed by a friend?
- Has Your health been compromised?
- Does someone you love suffer from an addiction?
- Has Mental illness hit your family?
When we are going through a trial, our real self comes out. We may go into the fear mode and feel paralyzed, we may go in the crazy mode and run away, fight or flight, we may numb ourselves with alcohol drugs, spending, relationships.
We can open our hearts to let Christ live in us and through us.
Stop procrastinating and stop running from the truth in who you are. No one defines who you are or what you believe but you.
This opened my eyes wide open. I had to quit blaming people for things in my life, not my parents,children or the church. I came to believe God allowed me to go through this for a greater reason and purpose.
Test of Faithfulness
“We know that all things work together for good to those who love God” Rom 8:28
God may cause our circumstances to suddenly fall apart, which may bring to realization of our unfaithfulness to HIM for not recognizing that He had ordained the situation.
It means we may not see or understand what HE is trying to accomplish but I learned you have to surrender and not question and trust in HIS plan. That is one of the hardest lessons I am learning.
We have to conquer our fears, I read a story about a Dr. Moon from England, who was suddenly struck with blindness, said, ”Lord, I accept this ‘talent’ of blindness from you. Help me to use it for your glory so that when you return you may receive it back with interest (Matt 25:27)
He then went on to create the Moon alphabet for the blind. God can do great things when we change our fears and suffering into His service.
Being the best version of self means accepting your suffering doesn’t mean you have to like it. and moving ahead. Self-discovery can be scary but it really is the most freeing, exciting and important journey of life.
Phil 1:12 “What has happened to me has really served to advance the Gospel.” Embrace it
Stop Criticizing, complaining, and Judging.
- Our world is hurting enough that we need real Christians to love and change the direction of our world.
- We need to eliminate all negative energy
- Replace complaining with Gratitude
Stop Negative self-talk
- Read God’s word and listen to HIM
- Amplify your strengths-what are you good at, what gifts has God given you? What does HE need from you?
- Step around any obstacles in your path
Develop a Growth Mindset
- There are only opportunities for improvement
Throw out Expectations
- Unfortunately, our beliefs are not our own. Part of our beliefs are built on the expectations of others, institutions-what we learned as kids, “It’s none of my business what you think of me” Joyce Meyer
- Your vision for who you want to be must be yours- and no one else’s. Let it be God-inspired
Be Willing to Shed Your Old Identity
- This is one of the hardest things to do. Some have always identified as a mother or wife, a priest …our identity should be with Christ.
- Resisting the urge to cling to the familiar George Costanza from Steinfeld-decided his way was not working so he decided to do everything opposite to inclination. By end of the day he was dating a model and was manager of the Yankees
- You are so much more than an identity
Create Empowering Rituals
- Create habits that help you move forward
- Practice Gratitude
- Cut excess
- Sanctify Give back-be generous
- Forgive especially forgive yourself
Love the creation of God you are.
- Show yourself compassion
- Be present
- Seek silence
- Let Jesus shine his light through you
- Get out of your head
- Be kind to yourself
- Caregivers take care of yourself first-mask drops on plane
Being the best version of self takes reflection, prayer and work. It is exciting to be open to change, new ideas, thoughts and inspirations. You can do it…I can do it. This can be the year! Start tonite be grateful.+
May I please have a copy of your 2023 list…..very good goals!!