Consider for a moment: what is the trajectory of your life? Are you headed in the best direction? Are you in a better place now than you were a year ago at this time? If not, what are you going to do differently in 2013 to make sure you make progress?
When we moved from Los Angeles to Austin at the end of 2010 we were making a new start. We loved our years on the West Coast, and we loved our community. We were leaving with a mixture of sadness and excitement. After coming to Austin and connecting with this community (with Gateway), we soon learned that cities and churches are like children – you can actually love more than one at a time.
In light of this new start, I decided to make it a new start in every way. When I asked if I wanted a PC or a Mac, I chose Mac because I had been using a PC for the past several years. When I was asked about a blackberry or an iPhone, I switched to an iPhone and got rid of my blackberry. Anytime I was given a choice, I chose something new – including cable TV. Of all the choices, this one seemed to be the most controversial in our home. Debbie and the kids liked Dish. They didn’t like AT&T U-verse. They weren’t familiar with the channels or the remote control. I thought that all of those concerns would disappear once they got used to it.
Unfortunately, a few months into our new AT&T experience, my family rallied against me. Even though they had gotten used to the remote control and the new numbers for their favorite channels, the digital picture kept messing up. Have you ever watched a show that freezes or digitizes? It is incredibly annoying, especially if you miss a scene or cannot get it to keep moving forward again. I felt like I had a simple solution. I decided to call for technical support. The easy solution: unplug the cable box each night so it can reset.
I tried it, and it worked… for awhile.
The digitized image and the frozen picture came back, so I called technical support once again. This time they sent me a new box in the mail. We mailed back the messed up cable box and installed the new one.
It worked, until it didn’t.
The process happened several more times. It seemed to work for a few months then it would get screwy again so I would call technical support and get a new box.
On the fourth box, even I had turned against this new cable provider. I called ready to cancel, and then they transferred me to the cancellation department which I think is actually their sales department, the place where they keep their most influential people. The next thing you know I have agreed to keep them as our service for even longer! Now, I wasn’t a complete pushover. They cut our cable bill in half, promised to send me another new box (the fifth new one), and put down in the notes that if I called again they would send over a technician to check out the situation at no cost to us.
My family was really upset, but my desire to save money sometimes outweighs my concerns for my family’s happiness.
Well, can you guess what happened? It worked great for a few weeks and then the pictures froze and digitzed again!
I called knowing they had promised to send someone out. A few days later he arrived. He tested all of the equipment and then he did something no one else had ever done in the two years we have had AT&T U-verse. He checked out the wiring that comes into the house. He discovered the cable was old and needed to be replaced. All of the seasoned reps never checked the cable. It took a 20 year old rookie to think to check the cable. We could have had 5 new boxes or 5000 new boxes. Either way, we would have never solved the actual problem.
Maybe you are here today with hope for the new year. You really believe this next year can be better. You really will finally break through and make the progress you want to make. At the same time, you may have a tiny bit of doubt. How do I know this next year won’t end the exact same as last year?
Some of you have way more cynicism and skepticism about the new year. You’ve seen it over and over. You never seem to get traction. The people around you never seem to make progress. Once again, you expect you will be disappointed and become even more disillusioned. Lucky 2013 doesn’t have any hope of being a better year.
When we just make superficial changes, we won’t see anything new. The beginning of the year may show a glimpse of something better, but like the cable boxes I kept getting sent to my house, soon it will slip back.
What we need this new year is a complete overhaul. We need a new mind, and we need a new heart. We need complete new wiring rather than superficial changes that don’t last! Jesus said that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all of our soul, with all of our mind, and with all of our strength. These four categories cover all of who we are. Some of us are holding back one or two or three or all four of these from God. Over our entire life, we will continue to fail to become all that God has created us to be until we completely give Him all of who we are.
(Also see Trajectory: 7 Ways to Make 2013 Better Than 2012).