I'm writing this from a park bench just off River Street in Savannah that overlooks the Savannah Harbor and Hutchison Island. It is a great little spot in this world and if you've never been down here, I highly recommend it.
Whenever I come to Savannah, I always think back to the first time I visited this great city. It was January 2003 for a fraternity formal and it was especially memorable as I turned 21 that weekend. It is hard for me to believe that was nine years ago, almost a decade, and that I will be a 30-year-old man in just a few weeks.
It's fun to think about who I was then and who I am now, where I thought I would end up then, and where I have landed today. I'm quite sure the next nine years will have many surprises, many victories, and many struggles just as these past nine have had.
I have often said that you only get eight decades in life, and nine if you're lucky and we all know how quickly those decades go. As we step into 2012, I want to encourage you to spend some time in the next week evaluating your last year, five years, and 10 years and asking yourself how you've done.
Have you accomplished all of the things you set out to do? Have you used those 10 years well or is it wasted time?
Then I want to encourage you to look at the next 10 years. What do you want your life to look like not just in the next one year, but also in the next 10 years? People often overestimate what they can do in one year, but underestimate what they can do in 10.
Life oftentimes seems short, but we can be confident that God has given us enough time to do what He has called us to.
One of the phrases that I try to live by is "evaluation, goal setting and implementation." This is how you get better at anything. I'm serious. If you want to get better at anything, you must evaluate, set goals and implement a plan to achieve those goals.
The tragedy of the world, though, is that so few people ever take time to do this. People are afraid to evaluate out of fear of what they may find. People never take the time to set goals, often times also because of fear, and people never implement a plan because they aren't disciplined.
Because of this, people go year after year, and decade after decade never improving, never becoming who God has called them to be.
So will 2012 be the year that you get better? Will this next decade be the 10 years that redefines your life? That starts with evaluation, goal-setting and implementation.
My prayer for you is that this would be the year that your life changes and that you begin to desire more in your life. So this week, I want to encourage you to take some time to evaluate, set goals, implement a plan, and get better.
Do this for your own good and for the glory of Christ in your life. And do this so that in 10 years when you look back on today, you can know you lived well.
Jason Dees is senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Covington. He can be reached at 770-786-9031 or www.firstbaptistcovington.com or www.facebook.com/jasondees.