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Can I just take a moment to say... 2018 looks good on you! As the page turns on 2017 and we look towards the new year I have to say that I am crazy excited. I don't know about you, but 2017 actually was pretty good to me. It was a solid year. I also know for a fact that isn't relatable for everyone. 

There are two types of New Years People:

#1 You think that all of this New Year stuff is semantics...

or 

#2 You fully embrace whatever moving forward in any way, shape or form.

No matter how you look at it. Some of us are PUMPED that 2017 is between is behind us, and amazingly there are a few of us who actually had our best year ever in 2017. If you are in this camp, you might be hesitant to close the chapter on 2017, because honestly, you aren't sure how 2018 can get any better. 

Regardless of what your 2017 was like, I want to pass on my thought for the year ahead. It's my goal to THINK SMALL in 2018. I know, I know... you think I'm crazy. I wanna get better, I wanna move faster, thinking small isn't going to get me to where I want to be... think again. 

Meet Sir Dave Brailsworth. 

When Sir David became head of British Cycling in 2002, the team had almost no record of success: British cycling had only won a single gold medal in its 76-year history. That quickly changed under Sir Dave’s leadership.  As a former professional cycler who also happens to hold an MBA, Sir Dave applied a theory of marginal gains to cycling — he gambled that if the team broke down everything they could think of that goes into competing on a bike, and then improved each element by 1%, they would achieve a significant aggregated increase in performance.

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, his squad won seven out of 10 gold medals available in track cycling, and they matched the achievement at the London Olympics four years later. Sir Dave now leads Britain’s first ever professional cycling team, which has won three of the last four Tour de France events.

As we take a step towards 2018 what if we started thinking small. 

The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall,
for the Lord holds them by the hand.
— Psalm 37.23-24

This past year I through out all of our vision and mission statements and embraced something new inspired by the words of the Psalmist. Moving forward my life path is simple, and the vision and direction for church is clear... we are following Jesus one step at a time. 

To do this I only need to think small. I need to focus on my steps. My movements. I need to ask myself, how close am I following Jesus. Am I following in the dust of the Rabbi or am I falling back. The closer I get the more I can understand the movements and the mannerisms. When the terrain gets difficult I don't have to figure out a strategy to conquer it... I just follow in His footsteps. 

The pen of the ready writer, the Psalmist describes Jesus as the one who delights in the details of our lives. You know who doesn't delight in the details... me, and not for the reasons that you might think. 

For many of us the details of our lives are terrifying. I am not talking about the nitty gritty. I am not talking about day to day operations or even finances. I am talking about the down and dirty details of our lives... you may know them as the skeletons in your closet. These are not the details you do, but the details that make you who you are. 

When was the last time you started thinking about those small details. What if 2018 wasn't about making one major change... what if it was about making a number of strategic detail-oriented changes that cumulatively makes an incredible impact. 

So how do you even get started? GREAT QUESTION. You gotta start by shining the light inside. You've gotta open the closet. You've got to be honest about where you are, and where you want to go. 

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This Sunday (January 14), we are beginning to explore this very idea with a collection of talks called, BRAVE FACE / GAME FACE. Are you tired? Exhausted? Drained? Out of energy? It could be that the very reason that you are exhausted and barely surviving is because you have spent some much time and energy pretending that everything is alright that you've depleted all of who you are pretending to be someone you aren't doing something you can't, somewhere you're not supposed to be... all for the sake of appearances. 

It's time to STOP PRETENDING and it's time to START LIVING. 

So, you want a tangible takeaway. Why not start this journey with us, either online or in person. But I can tell you that the intangibles of this experience are not downloadable. 

Next, you want to know what you can do right now? Easy. Start thinking small. What kind of person are you? Are you incredibly practical? Do you love the nuts & bolts and the mechanics of things. When you approach your spiritual journey are you only looking for immediately applicable wisdom? Your 1% area of improvement is to embrace the impractical. If you love the practical side of Christianity, start to explore and not just write off the spiritual. 

If you are a spiritual person by nature, you can already guess your area. You might be a free spirit, in tune to the voice of God. Your 1% area is embracing the practicalities of the Word of God. Embrace a structured approach, dig for practical wisdom and start applying to the areas of your life where it's needed most. 

Embrace the 1%. How many 1% areas can you identify? Why don't you name those skeletons in your closet? Take responsibility for them and then take authority over them. 2018 is going to be your best year yet if you start by thinking small. 


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Brett Esslinger is a Husband, Dad, Son, Brother, Pastor, Speaker, Leader, Writer whose life goal is to help people unlock their potential and fulfill their life's purpose. 

Brett is the founder of Engage City Church & the Author of #HopeNotHype

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