New Year 2016 Blog
As I look back over this last year I saw a 45-year-old dream beginning to be fulfilled as well as the realization that I did not reach an important goal I had set this past year. The good news is and what I love about the New Year is it is a great time of reflection and new beginnings! Looking ahead, setting new goals and how I will achieve them gives me renewed vision. My 45-year-old dream realized (Going back to college and working on a bachelor’s degree) took perseverance and more than a few months of troubleshooting to get all the important documents to enroll. It would have been easy to give up, throw the towel in and quit, as I had many hurdles to jump. In trying to follow a dream, many times obstacles can get in the way. I believe this is why so many give up. A year ago I was applying at different colleges trying to find a good program that fit my dreams and goals. I was constantly being told and dare I say, pushed by professors, and advisors from different universities to take out a student loan, something that I was not comfortable doing. Although I came close to doing it – filling out and submitting the application – I did not feel right about it, so never took the money they offered to me.
Some of the challenges I faced were:
- Lack of money
- Questioning myself
- Realizing fulfilling dreams are not handed to you
Once I realized to accomplish my dream it was going to take perseverance, time, hard work and giving up most all of my spare time; I had to rethink my desire. Why did I want this so bad? Was it going to be worth the money, the time, the hard work? I also came to realize that fulfilling my dream will take way longer than I thought it would. At that point, I could have easily given up. The thoughts and doubts bombarded my mind like a never ending drip of a water spout, like, “Why am I trying to go to college at age 63??” “I should be sending my kids to college, not me” “Why didn’t I do this earlier” “I’m not smart enough,” and on and on and on, etc. These were just a smidgen of thoughts I had to deal with. The thoughts alone were enough for me to throw in the towel. However, I don’t have giving up in me! My thinking was and still is; the time will pass regardless if I go to college or I don’t. I can do this, not on my own, but with God. Again, I had to take a good hard look at exactly why I was doing this. My conclusions were satisfactory enough for me to pursue and conquer all! I wanted, first off, to write books. I did not feel I was educated enough to write a book and have it sound professional as I felt my grammar skills were sadly lacking. I also wanted the credibility that comes with a degree. As well as to better myself in Biblical knowledge, for preaching and teaching, to impart to students I teach, as that is my future.
I can now tell you with a year under my belt; the challenges are still there, but I am closer than I was a year ago! With God as my partner, I have seen a continuous blessing. No matter what your dream or goals, remember with God, all things are possible. What I learned from this past year:
- I had to keep my eye on the prize
- Dreams take perseverance
- Dreams aren’t always easy
- Dreams take work.
- Faith in God always pays off
You have to work hard to accomplish whatever it is you are trying to do. Having a can-do attitude of victory and of not giving up will help you through difficult times. Even though you may have to regroup and re-evaluate from time to time, as you may realize, that your “dream” may be just that, a dream. Self- examination is always good. Re-evaluating means just that. Stop and really look at what you are doing. Is this a God-plan? Or a You-plan? Is this really what you are supposed to be following? Doing? Is your timing off or right on? Often young mothers have dreams and goals, but forget their number one plan is to raise godly children! Young fathers have a goal, a dream and begin to follow it, but need to ask, “Is this causing me to neglect my wife or children? All of these things have to be examined, depending on where you are in life. Whether you are retired or a young parent, or somewhere in-between, the most important thing to remember is; What is God leading you to do in this season of your life? Have you really saturated it in prayer? Prayer is vital if you are going to be following your own hand-tailored God-plan! (See Jeremiah 29:11) He will always lead you in the right direction! A good question to ask, “Why am I doing this?” If you can answer that accurately in line with God’s vision for your life, then you’ll know you are on the right track.
More things I learned from last year’s endeavors.
- I had to change my thinking and stick with it. In my case, it was changing my thinking from, “Am I smart enough to handle the courses? …To, “I can do this. I have the mind of Christ. I am smart enough!”
- Dreams take perseverance. Perseverance means; “Continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition: the action or condition or an instance of perservering: steadfastness”  It took many phone calls (one thing I greatly dislike) trying to track down transcripts from various colleges I had attended. I had obstacle after obstacle to jump over. But I kept at it!
- Don’t allow disappointments to hold you back! I had one disappointment after another. I didn’t get any credit from my two years at a previous Bible school, although I was told others had; in fact, at the same university I’m attending, one friend received a years worth of credits – yet they gave me none. What? And she attended the same Bible school, the same years I did. Plus, some credited courses I took in 1970 at my previous college had no record of me attending! (This is what happens when you wait until your 60’s to pursue your dreams!) So, I was far from my goal, when I started.
- Set-backs are stumbling blocks meant to climb on, not to keep you down! At one point I was told I would be entering college at a Junior level. I was so excited until I received a letter saying none of my previous credits would be accepted at this particular college. I switched to another and again the same story, I switched a third time, this time, knowing the program and classes fit me better and that I would probably not get credit from my previous years work. However, the university I chose, gave ministry students a ½ price discount! That was an answer to prayer, and I have chosen to stay at this particular university!
- God is our provider! When you do things in line with his vision for your life, He provides in miraculous ways. So far my costs for schooling have been taken care of by different means! God is good to me! However, my part is to stay in faith believing each month for His provision. He has not let me down, and I know He will continue to provide.
- Keep a grateful heart. So far I have gotten straight A’s. This is my goal, but if I miss it, I will continue to press on and do the very best with what God has given me. The last class I took was extremely challenging. I was traveling on a mission trip overseas. I had a very busy schedule, preparing and teaching classes in Bible schools and had little time to do my homework. Yet, God gave me the grace to get everything done and on time. I ended up with a 96% for the class, which wasn’t what I wanted (going for 100% for each course!) But I have learned to go easy on myself and not allow defeat in my thinking! I keep a grateful heart in everything, giving the Lord continual thanks for helping me succeed.
This is my story…what is yours? What dreams or goals do you have yet unrealized? This year is a great time to start! Think of it this way…. you have your whole life ahead of you! Who is to say you can’t do it? Listen to God, follow his leading and he will show you the pathway to success in whatever you put your hand to! Following are some scriptures to stand on and to help you along to reach your dreams or goals! Get with it. Don’t sit idly by like I did and let the years pass on! Get up! Pray! Seek God! Move forward! Fulfill your dream! Do something to get started and you might just find the excitement and fulfillment will be enough to keep you motivated! Pace yourself if you must, but at least, get started. Do something! Blessings to you on your journey of life in this wonderful year of 2016! ~ Pastor Rebecca
And let us not grow weary while doing good,
for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. NKJV
1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable,
always abounding in the work of the Lord,
knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. NKJV
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.NKJV
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” NKJV
 Merriam-Webster. Accessed Dec. 31, 2015. Web. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/perseverance