"Goals for the new year? Are you kidding? My goal is just to survive another day," my friend said.

Can you almost feel her heavy heart? It's a common thing. Facing a new year, new issues and a new future, uncertainty gnaws. We wonder about what tomorrow will bring. How much darker violence can get. And what will happen to us, to our family.

But the solution is simple because there is something extremely powerful. There is something we have that will dictate our course. Something that possesses the unique power that can change our mood, give us a different outlook, rearrange our priorities, give us freedom and/or shove us in an emotional prison.

It's not illness, violence, or financial troubles. Instead, it's those invisible notions that rumble through the mind non-stop all day, every fraction of every second of our waking hours.

Those are our thoughts and they have the ability to color the scenery of our lives.

The thoughts we entertain paint our facial expression. They determine the words we say. Those words in turn, determine the attitude we embrace, thus formulating our habits. Those habits mold our character. And before we know it, our character dictates the decisions that trace our destiny.

And it all began with the thoughts we allowed in our mind.

Because of their impact, we have three choices. We can choose to have:

*Thoughts of gloom because of the circumstance or thoughts of the goodness of God.

*Thoughts of our shortcomings or of God's power and strength.

*Thoughts of the violence outside or thoughts of God's peace that we can keep within.

What if we invite thoughts given in Philippians 4:8 -- thoughts about what is true, noble, right, pure, and lovely? "For as he thinks within himself, so he is" (Proverbs 23:7).

If our thoughts are empowering and encouraging, freedom will come. And when the rest of the world is living unsure, anxious and fearful, we stand firm on God's promise to keep us secure and triumphant.

What thoughts fill your mind as we begin a new year?

Janet Eckles
If this message resonated with you, please visit Janet's cyberspace home for more inspiration.