Happy New Year! Now I must remember to write "09" on my checks instead of "O8". The older we get the faster time flies. Our parents were right. Summers seemed to last forever when I was a kid. I think that was because I was so carefree back then. Life was mostly about having fun. As adults, our lives are so busy with responsibilities that time slips away from us. If we had more time to catch bugs, lay in the grass and watch clouds go by or build snow forts, then maybe time would pass more slowly
As another new year begins, one thing I'm not doing is making resolutions I will not keep. I'm not promising to lose weight, although I would like to lose the four pounds I gained over the holidays. But there are more important things to consider. And sometimes, when we get our minds on something else, the thing we hope for just happens... like losing weight when we become completely engrossed in a new project.
Here's the project: Make only three resolutions this year, but make them big and challenging. First, Resolve to love people, not things. On New year's Eve, I heard one of the saddest examples of loving things more than people. A young girl came home and told her mom that one of her classmates kept looking inside her shirts to read the tags at her back neckline. After several days of this she asked her classmate why she was doing this. "I'm just checking to see if you're wearing cool clothes or junk," she said in a sassy tone.
Kids are cruel. And they can either be corrected or allowed to act this way. If I caught my daughter making such a comment she would have some serious consequences awaiting her. When someone makes a piece of fabric more important than a young girl's feelings, that person needs a lesson in love or maybe she needs to feel loved herself. When we love things more than people we display a twisted sense of what truly matters in life. It can be a house, a car, a shirt, a vacation, or anything we want or value more than the people around us. In the movie, "Fireproof" a husband who finally realized what love is gave up the money he was saving for a boat. He gave twenty thousand dollars of his hard-earned savings to his wife's sick mother. Now that's loving people more than things.
Another resolution that's worth making is to speak less and listen more. Have you ever had a conversation with someone and they don't hear you because they are thinking about what they want to say next, and they respond to your response before you can finish a sentence? The book of Proverbs has this to say: "He who answers before listening--that is his folly and his shame."
Few things make me feel less important than a poor listener. And I don't want to be one myself. At times holding my tongue is the most difficult thing in the world. I have so many clever come backs that I could spew out. But one thing I noticed is that I always feel better the next day after holding my tongue. I'm almost proud of myself for taking the high road and it feels good. While in my memory, the person who stood in front of me shooting her mouth off sounded like a fool. But even when the conversation is a pleasant exchange among friends, we can learn a lot by listening more and speaking less.
The last resolution on my list is by far the most important. These three words have the power to change your life...Put God first. Whenever I overhear someone sharing a problem they're trying to overcome, I want to ask, "Are you putting God first and praying for his help"? So many people face life on their own. They stumble through each day with no peace. When a problem arises, they face it with nothing more than their own strength and their own understanding.
Rather than to ask for wisdom from the God of the Universe, creator of all things, some people put faith in themselves, believing that they are more capable and smarter than God. They think Christians are weak and in need of a crutch to get through life. But they are the ones who are stumbling. They walk through each uncertain day while God-fearing Christians live a life on wings. God carries us through every trial toward victory.
Why walk when you can fly? Needing God is needing a crutch? Quite the opposite is true. Seeking God allows us to toss away our crutches and take flight. Flying is freedom. There's a freedom that comes with putting God first. He promises to care for our every need when we seek him with all of our hearts. God's resources are limitless, and he can bless us with everything we need. All he asks is that we seek him first.
Seeking God means praying and studying his word in The Bible. Every one of life's problems can be solved when we put God first and follow his lead. What a great year 2009 will be if we make and keep those three resolutions...love people; not things, speak less; listen more, and put God first.
God wants us to have the best life we can possibly have on earth. The choices we make will either lead us toward or away from that blessed life. The Bible is our instruction manual, and every resolution I mentioned can be backed up with scripture. These aren't my suggestions, they are God's. The bible contains every resolution worth making and keeping. If we pick up God's book, read it, and do what it says, we will have the best year of our lives.