Every time the new year begins, I sense a surge of fresh fuel to live more passionately and not waste the time that lies ahead. I came up with a quick list of things you and I can do in the beginning stages of 2013 to help us take charge of the “enemy-in-a-me” and the ones “outside-a-me.”

1. Empowerment begins with taking control.
This is the day to begin to control the things that have been out of control. It does you no good to simply “recognize” that there are things that are out of control; you must get them under control! Have you ever seen a dog fight? I was amazed to see that when two dogs get into it, they never waste time biting each other on the leg or the ear. When dogs fight, they go for the neck. The first one to get the hold on the other’s neck wins. This is your year to get a choke hold on the uncontrolled places of your life.

2. Maximize life by minimizing your load.
How many things did you stress over last year that really had no huge significance? Too often, goofy stuff clogs our days with drama and fretting, and those things never add value to your life. This year, make the choice to do some subtracting and only use addition when something or someone gives positive value to your mission. Fear is the first thing that you must cut off.

3. Take control of YOUR life, not someone else’s.
Going bankrupt yourself by making someone else feel great might sound noble, but it is not. Indebtedness will weigh you down and often requires that you have long strings attached to people who take credit for what God has done in your life. This is especially damaging in intimate relationships. Run from those who want you so they can control you. Whenever possible, pay your own way. See your relationships like slices of an orange. You can take some away and still have plenty left.

4. Run from burnout.
Don’t be like a driver of a car that never listens to how the engine is functioning. He is so concerned about where he is going and how fast he can get there that he doesn’t even realize that the engine is knocking, the tires are losing air, and the gas tank is almost empty. Before long, it’s stuck on the side of the road. This year, listen to your inner voice. God speaks there. It’s foolish to wait until some moral or emotional failure occurs before you stop to analyze the who, what, when, and whys of your life. Knowing yourself is a major accomplishment. If people aid your stress and burnout, then saturate their life with your absence. Only invest in which fuels your journey.

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