• Richard Parrish

Press Forward


Here’s to a New Year, a new beginning, and new opportunities!


There’s something about a fresh start that inspires hope. I hope that things can be different, goals will be reached, and have faith that this “New Year” will afford us a brighter future.


There’s no harm in dreaming. There’s nothing wrong with setting goals.


Those who know me will tell you that I’m one that monitors and evaluates goals. I hope to see progress. For too many years, I tended to “float” through life. I discovered that setting goals and aspiring to reach them is healthy.


In winding down 2019, I took the time to review and reflect on the goals I had made for last year. I like to look at my physical, financial, relational, vocational, emotional, and spiritual needs.


Where are the adjustments needed? What progress did I make last year in attending to the goals I had set for 2019? What kept me from making progress? What contributed to the improvement?


Some of my goals were reached. Some were not.


This annual practice is not entirely to analyze data. It’s more than looking at trend lines on a graph. This reflection process is to discern God’s desire for me.


It’s good to have a plan. However, it’s essential to remember: God has a plan for us!


Unless I’m aware of God’s desires for me, as Ecclesiastes reminds us:

“I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.⁠1”

All of our planning and effort to reach our goals this year will be like chasing the wind — unless we allow God’s plan for our life to direct our attention. Striving is not bad. However, it’s useless if our efforts are not focused on God’s plan for our life.


What is God’s desire for you this year?


Have you taken time to offer your goals and desires to God and ask Him what He thinks about them? It’s always good to invite God to our planning sessions.


Here’s one thing for sure: Our desire for a more prosperous, peaceful year filled with potential will not happen without change.


Before the age of 31, Jim Rohn was an American businessman and self-made millionaire. He shared a wise reminder:

“Your life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change.”

Some enjoy change. Others hate it. However, like it or not, unless we are willing to adjust, at best, we remain as we are or fall back.


A “New Year” does not have the capability of transforming dreams to reality, accomplishing goals, or assuring a brighter future. It’s just a New Year, — a day on our calendar that marks the passing from one year to the next.


It requires no effort to live with the status quo. My growth spiritually (and in all areas of my life) always requires my willingness to adapt, adjust, and “change.”


Regular times of reflection allows us to evaluate the “state-of-our-soul.”


Last year is over. No amount of “would have, should have or could have” will change the past.


While there is some benefit to recognize what we may have done differently, it’s counter-productive to linger on remorseful thoughts.


The apostle, Paul, realizes there is a time to put the past behind us. He writes:

“…this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.⁠2”

Knowing God’s plan is discovered when we slow down, reflect, and listen - not only in December but throughout the year.


It’s a new day, a new year, and a new decade. I pray that your most important goal will be to take time with God regularly throughout this New Year.


May you have a blessed New Year!

1 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ec 1:14.

2 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), Php 3:13–14.