by Rev. Leslie V. Oliver :: guest contributor

By now, many of us have celebrated the transition from 2017 to 2018. It’s always exciting to begin a new year. Resolutions, commitments at work and promises to loved ones are circling and everyone is excited for a fresh start. With such positive energy surrounding us, wouldn’t it be wonderful to add a boost to your efforts?

As we head into a new year, it’s also important to embrace our new beginnings with clarity. As we are intentional about what we want and need, we must also be clear on where we are in the present. The future is sure to be successful when we are intentional and clear in the present. Clarity is a gift that ensures that our plans are firmly executed; clarity gives us clear roads as we journey forward. A great way to find clarity is to be totally honest with yourself about who you are now, where you are now and what you have now. Who are you as a person or citizen? Where exactly are you in your life right now? What gifts, insights and resources do you possess right now?

If you have answers to the questions above, take another step and ask yourself: Do you like who you are, or are there things you can work on? Do you like where you are in life, and is there a way to get to where you want to be? Have you fully exercised your gifts, talents and resources to get the best out of life? If you answer no to any of these, then the next question is: What are you going to do about it?

New beginnings in your life require you to really examine your life for ways to see, experience, contribute, and enjoy more of it. The human experience is amazing when you are clear on how you want to enjoy it. While we know that challengers are sure to join us in 2018, clarity and intention will help us to better embrace them and to learn more from them. We can then use them as launching pads to abundant life.

I have adopted the practice of using what I call “clarity statements.” I inform the universe of who I am and what my intentions are daily. I also speak aloud my needs and wishes, for I believe that there is energy in the atmosphere that will grab what I speak aloud and allow it to take flight. For example: “Just so we’re clear, I am amazing and nothing can stop me.” It’s as simple as declaring your success or your greatness. Once you know who you are and how you want to win, you state it with conviction and confidence. The universe, through your life experiences, will respond sooner than you think.

Take a moment this month to look at yourself closely. Identify what’s working in your life and what needs to be removed. Be clear about the happiness you want; sow seeds into the abundance that you believe you deserve. Be sure to let love be at the root of all of your intentions, and you will see them grow.

I wish you all of the favor that God intends for you. I believe with you and for you. Just so you’re clear, I know that your new beginnings are going to result in an amazing and bountiful year!

— Rev. Leslie V. Oliver is pastor and founder of Sanctuary Outreach Ministries. Visit them at