Happy New Year! As 2017 is now upon us; and, will soon be rushing full force ahead, I have been taking some time to think about what I want for 2017. Now, I always have to chuckle when I try to put myself in control of what will be. However, I am a firm believer that putting faith in our intentions and goals will bear fruit-we just may not know what kind of fruit! So, what can I do to impact 2017? What am I in control of?

2016 was an amazing year for my family and myself, in many ways and in many blessings and in many lessons. To be sure, there were a few shots in 2016 that I would like to take a mulligan on. As I think about those lessons, I wonder how I can turn them into blessings-because, they are; if I learn from them…

 The question becomes: “How do I ensure that I learn and grow, in order to thrive in 2017?” My wife, Jennie, and I were talking the other day about this question. So, we decided to make a vision board for 2017. We essentially made a collage of inspiration, focused around how we will work at fulfilling God’s purpose (for us and for all) in 2017. We hung it in our room; and, it centers on a word: INVEST.

Now, we weren’t thinking financially (although, after our holiday season, we probably should have been!). We were focused around investment in people-our boys, our family, our community- oh, and ourselves. We realized that, in our experience, whenever we tried to improve, we always focused externally, only. Impact is absolutely the end goal for all of this-making this world a better place. But, we can’t change anything if we aren’t introspective first. We are our work’s foundation. If we aren’t strong physically, mentally, spiritually, how can we build anyone or anything else up?

So, to answer that question above, I will invest. I will invest in my quiet time with God. I will invest in my body-putting in the right fuel and strengthening it with activity. I will invest in my mind-reading, watching, listening, engaging-to learn. I will invest in my friendships-connecting and re-connecting. I will invest in all of my family-even if I don’t always want to. I will invest in my love, my wife, Jennie-our friendship and our marriage. I will invest in Joshua and Jack-together and individually. I will invest in my neighborhood…I will invest in life.

As you find your way forward in this new year, this fresh start to have an impact, I pray that you, too, will find your answer to that question. If I may suggest, listen. God has put the answer in you.