Ciara Lilly is a Charlotte-area writer. Her faith-based column, Fishers of Men, is published here each Monday. Opinions expressed are solely her own.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)

Like many people, I am excited to welcome in 2012. But the best part of welcoming in a new year is evaluating the past year. I ask myself a few questions: What were some of the highlights of the year? How can I improve personally, professional and spiritually in the year ahead? Did I give God my best? What can I change in the year ahead?

You can reflect on different questions, of course, but the point is to thoroughly evaluate the concluding year so you can take the first two steps God gave us in the scripture above: forget the former things and do not dwell on the past.

Some of you may be thinking, “Why is it important to forget the former things and to not dwell on the past; surely we don’t have to forget everything, right?” Absolutely not! Through your reflections, you are able to distinguish between lessons and burdens. Once you’ve determined the burdens, you’ve identified the things that need to be forgotten.

We cannot welcome our new year of possibilities, blessings and provision while carrying the heavy burdens of the past. Just think about some of the most difficult circumstances you faced in 2011. Maybe you lost your home or your job; maybe you battled an illness. Whatever circumstances you overcame deserve to stay in the past. Instead of bringing them into 2012, open yourself to receive the new blessings that await you.

I believe that God is ready to do new things in 2012: So you may have lost your job; expect a better job in 2012. You may have lost your home; expect a mansion in 2012. You may have battled an illness; expect perfect health in 2012.

Remember, there’s nothing that God cannot do!

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