This isn’t the first time I’ve written about change, or about doing something different. In fact, it’s not going to be the last. In business, often we get the impression that we’re failures if something doesn’t go well or we make a mistake. If you think about it, that’s not what makes you fail – or succeed. You fail or succeed based on your reaction to the mistakes, and based on what you learn from the experience.

To this end, I’ve nearly failed. A dozen, maybe hundreds, possibly thousands of times I’ve nearly failed. I’ve only nearly failed because God has chosen to grant me just one more day, one more chance, one more opportunity to serve Him and to get my act together. When He stops granting that extra time, if I haven’t met my goal, then perhaps you could say I’ve failed. Until then, life is for learning.

cropped-computer-user-keyboard-mouse-hand.jpgI’ve spent time writing about the circumstances that have shaped the last few years, and I’ve detailed things for you, dear Internet, that I didn’t think I’d ever want to share. Yet here we are. Transparency isn’t such a cruel monster. In fact, transparency is a goal for me. It is a tool, which I’ve found can bring great freedom to both the writer and the reader, the speaker and the listener. Through the transparency I can give to you what I wish someone would have given to me many years ago – a realization that nobody is perfect, that the person you’re looking up to is not everything you thought he was, that the voice on the other end of that conversation is going through the same types of problems that you are. You are not alone.

Sometimes, when I write, I’m writing for myself. Maybe I’m sending forward a note of encouragement to my future self. Perhaps I’m trying to be the friend I want to have, or I’m trying to give the advice I need to take for myself. Either way, I’m hoping that you take something away, something actionable, that you can do for yourself – just as I have done for myself. I don’t want this to be a place you come to just to see what kind of trouble I’ve gotten myself into, or a place where I complain about the struggles of life. I want this to be a place where real people meet and can share in the beauties and riches of the magnificent love that comes from living a life in service to Christ and to others.

img_20161130_231017744This year, once again, I’m setting goals. I’m writing them down, too, because the goals you write down are the ones you’re going to remember. Put dates on your goals so you can see how long you’ve been working on them. Don’t get bogged down by working toward one huge goal. Set that big goal and then write down how you can get there. Put dates on those milestones, too.

This year, I’m migrating my goals into a nice little red book, where I can track not just the goals in several different areas, but also my progress toward them. It helps to have the encouragement later on when the goal gets blurry or the path gets tough. Be nice to your future self. Stick some thank you notes in there for you, or an inspiring quote. You’ll surprise yourself with how words you choose today will have an effect later, when you most need it or least expect it.

This week, I hosted a concert using Facebook Live from my page on Facebook. You came out of the woodwork to show your support and to encourage me, and for that, I’m grateful. My goal is not to be ‘popular’ or ‘go viral’ – although I wouldn’t turn down the chance to spread my music anywhere that would have me. I do want to use the talents that God has trusted me with to His honor, and to be a living testament to His grace and mercy. I titled the concert, “The Start of Something New.” The number 31 is my age (I celebrated a birthday this week, too – yay!) It will stand as a reminder to me throughout the year that my age is not just a number, it’s a representation of the number of times that God has given me another chance to serve Him. It’s a reminder of how many chances I’ve let pass me by – so that I won’t let more of them go by. It’s a reminder of the finite time that I’ve been given to make a difference – so that I’ll remember to keep doing the little things that make a difference in the world around me.

thinkingMany people try something new at the beginning of the year, hoping it’ll last. I’ve been there. In some ways, I still am. I don’t want to keep doing what I’ve always done – or I’ll keep getting the same result I’ve always received. This year needs to be something new – something different – something fresh, and inspiring.

Don’t forget your higher calling – your reason – your purpose.

Love God, love others, love yourself.