Plans for 2023: Finding Purpose

“Out with the old, in with the new.” Where or how this saying got started, I’m not sure. But Italians take it to heart and throw old plates and other items out the window on New Year’s Eve. Although it has dwindled, some people still do it, even chucking furniture out the window!

Out with what didn’t work

Clearing out can be beneficial and liberating. I declutter on a regular basis, though I don’t throw things out the window! But how about all my plans, ideas, and methods that haven’t worked, and likely never will?

I tried New Year’s resolutions for many years. But they never brought lasting change or renewal. So I switched to reflection. A lot happens in a year, and it’s helpful to know what we messed up and how we excelled.

My fall down the stairs and 40 days of bed rest made 2022 an especially reflective year for me. It created plenty of time with God. His whispers were often the only thing that helped me through the night hours. Even though I didn’t always like what he showed me.

But one benefit of reflection is that it shows the things we need to fix or get rid of. Which for me is my negative self-talk.

I always excelled at convincing myself I couldn’t do things. Because deep in my heart I felt inadequate, unable, and doomed to fail. I feared success, convinced I wasn’t good enough for it, and could never achieve it.

So I’m aiming to make this a year of excellence. Because God wants us to excel in him and for him. He can use our puny efforts to do remarkable things when we give it our all! Only our own decision to hold back can keep us back.

Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’

Matthew 19:26 CSB

A new year of purpose

Reflection alone isn’t enough, nor is eradicating the old ways. But it is a positive start. Because a clean slate clears space for creating something new and better. Something more worthy of the One who created us to shine for him.

First determine what you should be doing. What call has God placed on your life? How can you make your one precious life count?

5 Questions for finding God’s call on your life

  1. What are you passionate about?
  2. What spiritual gifts and practical talents has God given you?
  3. What areas of service continue to open up for you?
  4. How can you use them for the good of others and God’s glory?
  5. In what area do you most feel God is guiding you, helping you to meet your goals?

Finding your special vocation

God has a special call or vocation for each of us. “A work that fits your gifts and brings a deep sense of purpose. A summons from God to use your gifts in the world, whether in paid employment, the home, or volunteer activities.” 1

God’s call for your life comes as a recurrent thought or urge. Something you return to again and again, or that keeps coming to you.

Have you always wanted to start a business, write a book, or open a preschool? You’ve never done it or even attempted it. Yet the idea assails you. You’re certain you could do it. And that it could help others or provide a valuable service.

When certain thoughts or ideas continue to assail your mind, listen. It could be God’s summons to you. Leading you into the vocation he has in mind for you.

My call for 2023

God has always used me to encourage others. I mentored people long before it became a thing. I never pursued it; it pursued me. It was God calling me as a mentor.

But the most enduring thought has always been writing. I love to write, and I started at a very young age. But I love even more when the words flow naturally. I sense God’s hand on me and know he is helping me. And I sense that it brings him the same joy it gives me. Especially when it encourages others.

Finding purpose in life

Purpose is more than an idea or a goal. It means living for something higher. Deciding to make your brief life count and make a difference.

For me, writing is the work that fits my gifts and brings me a deep sense of purpose. It combines my passions, gifts, and desire to encourage others and help them grow. And blogging is part of it.

We plan to translate our blog this year, as there are few Christian blogs in Italian. Pray with us for this project, especially that it will touch hearts for Christ. It’s called Discepoli Quotidiani, or Daily Disciples. I plan to publish at least one weekly post, probably on Thursday. And then translate them into Italian, while also translating older posts.

Determine your purpose and vocation this year. Is there one main idea that keeps coming to you? A yearning that won’t leave your heart? That could be God’s call to you. And he has likely already given you the abilities and talents to do it. For when God calls us, he also enables us. He wants to give you a life of deep satisfaction and purpose.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6 CSB

1. Kevin Brennfleck and Kay Marie Brennfleck, Le Tourneau University.

Images: 2023 by Geralt | Future-past by geralt | Target by RosZie | List by Felicia Buitenwerf.

12 replies on “Plans for 2023: Finding Purpose”

The three questions are excellent and helpful when answered! Thank you. And your new endeavor! I know it to be a huge undertaking but one by one it will be done. You do write well and I enjoy your posts – translating them to Italian! I am excited for you and for your Italian-speaking neighbors! Father GOD, encourage and strengthen my dear sister to translate steadily and Holy Spirit please move people to open and read and HEAR JESUS. Amen and amen.


What an inspired idea–to translate your posts into Italian! May your new blog touch many lives, Sheila, just as this blog in English has. (Why haven’t “we” thought of this before?!) I’m thinking “the time is fulfilled” (Mark 1:15) when this endeavor can do the most good. May God’s wisdom and energy be with you as you work!

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Oh Nancy, thanks so much for your encouragement. With hundreds of posts it’s a big job. But I think you’re right about the timing. We had thought of it many times, but I guess it wasn’t time yet. Now that we are both pensioned, no kids at home, and not official pastors (although always pastoring souls), we have more time than ever. And our grasp of the language and understanding into the Italian mindset and culture has increased as well. As you say, “the time is fulfilled!” Thanks for your prayers for wisdom, diligence, and energy – we’ll need it!!

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I’m truly proud of you for choosing to minister to Italians by translating your blog! What a step of faith and faithfulness! I also love the idea of reflections over resolutions–it gives me space to consider exactly where the Lord is leading me and not something the world is driving me toward. And I hear you on negative self-talk–that’s been a millstone around my neck since I was little. I will pray for your new challenge, and that the Lord will use it for His glory among your adopted countrymen.


Well Dayle, let’s make this a year of throwing those old millstones we’ve worn to long right out the window – figuratively of course! I like the way you frame choosing reflection. Considering where the Lord is leading and not where the world is driving. You said it much better than I! I pray that as you cast your millstone away, you too will find new freedom and fresh inspiration! Thanks so much for your prayers in our new endeavor. We’ll need them, my dear friend|


I love the idea behind, “reflection rather than resolutions” Ms. Sheila. It’s when we reflect upon what went wrong, and perhaps more importantly what went right, that we are best able to move forward with the greatest gains. Too often, people are wont to only apply “Lessons Learned” when they fail, lose, etc. If you apply those same principles to analyzing what went right as well as what went wrong, then you always come away with positives that you can build upon. Praying great things for you in 2023, and much-improved health, as you move forward in God’s will ma’am. And be sure to watch walking under those windows, won’t you? 🙂


You’re quite right, JD. We do often limit our reflection more to what we’ve done wrong. But I guess my back is also teaching me to count victories, no matter how small. I could have went on scolding myself for being dumb enough to get out of bed before I was fully awake. But what good would that do? Instead I’ve counted tiny wins and milestones. The first time I could get out of bed by myself, put on my socks. then my shoes. God is with us even in our failures, and he will help us turn even those into things he can use – if we’ll only let him. I pray great things for you too, JD. I hope the drought over your way has eased up some. And yes, I will watch walking under windows!!


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