Saturday, January 4, 2014

A New Year and new expectations

Indonesian moth: ah, the adventures ahead!
How do you approach each new year? Some possibilities:

  • Ignore it. "It's an artificial marker, created by other people."
  • Celebrate it. "It's a new beginning. I'm glad I get another year."
  • Reflect on it. "What was good last year? What could be improved in the new year?"
  • Resent it. "Nothing has changed. I don't like where I am and what I do."
  • Resolve for it. "This year will be different! I want to accomplish my goals."
However you approach the coming year, I hope you're hopeful, filled to the brim with God's joy and lovingkindness. Here are some ideas to help us make the most of it:
The past and the future: granddaughter
K plays with my childhood "Johnny-doll"
  1. Have realistic expectations. If we didn't live a perfect year last time around, we probably will have some challenges this year, too. Life happens. Good and bad. Interesting and boring. Full of highs and lows. Thrilling and depressing.
        I'm glad nothing takes God by surprise, even when we feel blind-sided.
  2. Focus on important things. Let's align our dreams with lasting values. Relationships with God and others - expressed in time, energy, work, and play - will shape everything else.
        A great tip is to choose a word that expresses the focus of the coming year. Mine is "gratitude," as we set the past aside for new adventures ahead. What's yours?
  3. Set achievable goals. It's great to aim high, but we're living within our personalities, relationships, and environments. How can we become more fully human, the best person we can be where we are (or where we should be)?
  4. Be willing to work steadily, in small increments. Very few things get done in one-time big wins. What can we do today, tomorrow, this week, or this month?
  5. Invest ourselves. Let's use our talents, skills, and resources for things that matter. Remember that income is an exchange for life-hours at work. Let's spend our money (i.e. our life) deliberately, not carelessly this year.
  6. Evaluate our progress. Let's set aside regular quiet times to ask, "Are we becoming more loving? More friendly? More giving? More reliable?"
        Goals should be measurable: how will we know that we are moving in the right direction? That we have reached our target?
  7. Expect the unexpected. Let's rely on God for daily routines as well as un/pleasant surprises. Who knows what is coming our way?
        Leaning on the God-of-the-impossible, we we will have everything we need to do what He's set out for us in the coming year.
  8. Be happy. Let's remember to be grateful for blessings. When challenges come, let's thank God for good years and great experiences of the past. Things could be worse. There's always something to be thankful for - let's find those and focus on those this year!
HAPPY NEW YEAR. Blessings and peace to you from God the Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ.

Read more:
*As one from whom others hide their faces, he was despised, and we held him of no account. Isaiah 53:3 ESV

*He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 NEV

*For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6 NASB

Moravian Prayer: Father God, your light is brighter than the sun. It is so powerful that wherever we are, our path is lit and our fear of the dark is no more. Continue to light our way throughout our lives. Glory be to you. Amen.

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