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I read a story today about a man picking strawberries in a strawberry patch. This man would pick a strawberry here… and then he’d look up and see another strawberry a couple of rows away and off he’d run to pick that berry. Then he would look up and see another berry a few plants away and off he’d go, again and again and again all across the patch. In the time it took him to fill one bucket, others around him had filled ten.

That’s because this man’s eyes were always wandering across the strawberry patch looking for the easiest berries to find, instead of staying focused on what was before him. The bible says that a fool is like that, but “the perceptive find wisdom in their own front yard; fools look for it everywhere but right here“ (Proverbs 17: 24 –The Message).

Many people look for the “easiest berry” in the patch, the quick fix and they’re always seeking an easy way to get ahead in life. They are constantly comparing themselves, their families, their jobs and their potential to something or someone else. And they are never satisfied, often ending up doing far less with their lives than they could have.

God doesn’t want our lives to be full of toil or to be marred with disappointment and unrealised dreams. He is right here with us, desiring to speak and lead us into far more than we could ever find, or dream up by ourselves. (Ephesians 3:20). So often however we can be found rushing all over the earth searching for meaning, fulfilment, and instant gratification when God is closer to us than the very air we breathe. It’s just that we can simply ignore Him!

But “God intended that they (we) would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. For in Him we live and move and have our being.”  (Acts 17:27-28)

He wants to impart vision and dreams, and for us to be focused in life, knowing where and what we are called to do each day. He wants to fill the empty void within each one of us and reveal our best life. Sadly though we can all be like the man in the strawberry patch, running frantically here and there, searching for meaning, success and happiness but never fully achieving or reaching our goals and potential. It is far too easy to wear ourselves out through our incessant “doing doing, doing”, when Jesus wants to lead us in the way of bliss and a joy filled, meaningful life. (John 10:10)

As the New Year approaches take time to look forward into the year to come. What has God placed in your heart to focus on? Are you responding to His call and listening to His voice? What progress in your walk of faith and growth as a person do you want to make? What does God want to reveal and build into your world, both internally and externally? How will you make better use of your time?  

Last minute New Year resolutions are often forgotten within a week. But when we come to God and ask Him for fresh vision and for Him to unearth the dreams and desires He has placed in our hearts we are far more effective in getting where we need and hope to go. We tend to meditate upon the things God has shared and spoken to us longer, and it helps to share these things with others, so that they can pray and encourage us along the way.

This new year choose wisely what is most important in life and then hone your focus in that direction. Ask God for His wisdom and trust and allow Him to lead you in the right direction. In God we find everything we need; His love, joy, peace, hope and even courage when we face adversity. So let’s focus on the year ahead with wisdom, and not be like that man in the strawberry patch, wearing ourselves out for little reward.

So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority”. (Colossians 2:10)

 “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)

We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps”. (Proverbs 16:9)

If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believing, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.”(James 1:6-8 The Message)

Prayer: Lord thank you for this New Year ahead. Help me to be focused on what is really important and not be blown by every thought or fancy that pops into my head, or by those around me. Keep my eyes firmly ahead, to where you are leading, that I may follow. In Jesus name Amen.