Make Our Mark {This New Year}

by Nikki



The empty squares soothe me and I’m tempted to leave them that way. For this new calendar is so crisp and clean. And last year’s calendar is so…messy and cluttered…

But then I flip through the old pages and see scrawlings that make me smile wide. A miraculous birth. My son’s first tooth lost. My first speaking engagement. And all the memories of travels and friends/family visiting…they are worth noting.

With each New Year, I reflect on notations I made the year previous. Ones I jotted in my calendar, my thanks journal, and in the margins of my Bible. They help me determine if this path I’m on is bringing me closer to Home. Home to my Savior…

And each year, I find my heart lingering on tiny margin notes in a section of my Bible. It was from a sermon I heard years ago based on these verses:

Philippians 3:10-14

10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead! 12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

The sermon was on how Paul lived life with a definite decision (vs 12). He decided Jesus was the best one to master his life. He chose to live accordingly. Paul also lived with a determined priority (vs 13). He decided one thing to set his priorities on: Focusing ahead towards The One mastering his life while not being deterred by the past (vs 13).

For if you don’t learn to deal with your past, it will determine your future.

Based on my notes in the margins, I summarized the sermon to say:

You must be decisive
or you will live your life by default.

You’ll miss your mark.

Friends, I wonder…do I live each day with my mark in sight? Do I stay focused on where I’m going instead of where I’ve been? Do I keep my eye on the prize as I plan and prepare for what this year might provide?

Like Paul, have I made Jesus the master of my own life?

This New Year, as I mark up the calendar, as I make plans or resolutions or what have you. As I face what 2014 throws my way, I want to make sure I don’t miss my mark.

Let’s be decisive in our claims of being Christ-followers, friends. Let’s ensure each step we take brings us closer to our prize.

My palms press hard as I close the 2013 calendar. And as I glance over my journal and Bible, my heart warms at the realization of where Jesus has brought me this year.

I hang the 2014 calendar on the wall, resolving to live each day with intention. With Jesus living through me. Not to make a mark on the earth so much as to not miss my mark in Heaven. And I retreat to my journal to jot down what this might look like…

How about you, friend? How do you approach a new year? How do you keep your eyes fixed on your mark? Do you journal or keep notes in your Bible/calendar to see where God has brought you? I’d love to hear.

Email Author    |    Website About Nikki

Nikki is a loved wife, blessed mom, mere child saved by grace who strives daily to live like she deserves it. Before she was blessed with her role as a mother, her favorite jobs included teaching piano and working in interior design. She has a hard time saying no to peanut butter and chocolate and if you meet for coffee, a chai tea latte will be in her cup. She journals her thoughts on a blog titled Simplystriving. There you will find her journey of seeking joy in the everyday while simply striving to become all that God has made her to be.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sherrey Meyer January 3, 2014 at 12:52 am

Oh, Nikki, I have grown so lax in this regard. God obviously sent you as an angel reminder that I need to be more focused on hitting the mark as a Christian. As I read this, I stood in awe of your maturity and growth in your journey with Him. You are a mentor to me, dear one, and I give thanks for you each day.

I have set goals this year, not resolutions which I always break. Goals seem like something I can strive (my focus word for the year) toward and feel the work rippling through my earthly body. As part of my goals, I did set some faith goals which included focusing more on Him and His role in my life and mine in His guidance and fathering of me. So not to far off the mark of wanting to hit the mark, I suppose. 🙂

How’s baby and his brother?

Sending all of you love and blessings,


2 Nikki January 3, 2014 at 11:03 am

How you bless me, Sherrey. I’m amazed at how God speaks to you through me — and let me be clear: it’s all Him.

love how one of your goals is focusing on Him fathering you….love that. Thank you for sharing with me!

and baby/brother are doing well! we’re still struggling getting our days/nights figured out, but we’ll get there. thanks for asking! <3

love and hugs to you,


3 Barbie January 3, 2014 at 2:24 am

My goal is to keep Him in focus. I want to be more diligent in my Bible reading and journaling. I’ve never really been good at journaling, but this year I’m going to make the effort. I want to have something to look back on when it’s hard to go forward, to remember what He’s done.


4 Nikki January 3, 2014 at 11:05 am

something to look back on when it’s hard to go forward…YES! oh my. this is exactly why I do journal! I pull out my old journals often…especially of late. it helps so much to see how far He’s brought you.

Love your focuses this year, Barbie! Thanks for sharing and reading my heart. love you so.


5 Cari January 3, 2014 at 10:06 am

This was so good — I sent it off to three of my loved ones. I’ve journaled my times with The Lord the last 37 years, and as I read through them I see the hand of God so faithfully at work–how it blesses and encourages my heart! Making the point to journal helps me to focus on HIM and to be consistent often when I don’t ‘feel’ like it but in obedience because I want to love Him as I should!


6 Nikki January 6, 2014 at 1:39 pm

Cari–thank you so much for sharing with me! 37 years of journaling. I can only imagine the intimacies shared with your Savior!
and what a good point–when we don’t feel like it…yes…
no matter what comes our way this year, Cari, I plan on walking in obedience with you! {HUGS}


7 Missy January 3, 2014 at 10:25 am

Nikki, I am reading this and realizing that God still has lessons for me in this area that I thought I had made so much progress in last year. He is not finished with me yet, and thanks be to Him for it! “Not to make a mark on the earth so much as to not miss my mark in Heaven.” Amen. May this be my heart’s cry over and over this year and always.


8 Nikki January 3, 2014 at 11:06 am

I wonder if we’ll ever stop learning and growing in this area, Missy. It seems the more I grow, the more I realize how much I have to learn! 🙂

Yes, I’ll join your heart’s cry this year, friend. Love and hugs to you as you press on… <3

thanks for reading my heart, Missy. You bless me so!


9 Justine January 3, 2014 at 4:34 pm

I have foumd that it can be so easy to lose my focus on Him at times. I can get so busy doing the things I need to do. I have made some good resolutions/goals this year. I need to keep reviewing them and believing for His help to see them through. I also have to expect that the results can be different and not think about what happened last time or allow the negative actions of others influence me.


10 Nikki January 6, 2014 at 1:42 pm

Oh, expectations. they creep up on us and blow everything apart, don’t they! I’m with you, Justine…striving to not have them this year while focusing on what I should have: Jesus. Just give me Jesus…thank you for sharing with me!


11 Laura Rath January 5, 2014 at 10:11 am

This is great Nikki! So encouraging and so much to think about.

I like this: “You must be decisive or you will live your life by default. You’ll miss your mark.”

It made me think of proactive vs. reactive. We need to live proactively pressing forward and persevering. But so often, we live reactively depending on our past and what comes our way.

I’m with you Nikki – staying focused and pressing on!


12 Nikki January 6, 2014 at 1:43 pm

So true, Laura! somehow, I always think of Basketball and how I want to live offensively and not defensively:) I have nothing to prove: He’s done it for me. I just need to live like I’m on His team, sharing the ball with Him…running the court no matter what the clock says;)


13 Susan Stilwell January 14, 2014 at 5:04 pm

What a great word for me as I start 2014, Nikki! I definitely don’t want to live life by default, although I feel like I’ve wasted a lot of time doing just that and missing my mark. Ugh. But new mercies for us each morning! He is GOOD 🙂


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