Monday, January 6, 2014

Bringing in the New Year

Do you make New Year's Resolutions?
And then break them by February? 
Me too.
Although I have lived long enough to realize specific "I will do's...." are pretty pointless,
I still try to think about the question of how  next year could look different than the past.
What I still need to work on.
How should I grow up this year?
For my job, each January, I am asked to make specific goals for the year. Things that need to be improved areas that I could do better. Etc..
So why not ask the question for my personal life?
When I was asked to Give one word that describes my resolution for this year,
Without hesitation the word that formed in my mind was 
Courageous.

And although that word is impressive and speaks loudly in the ears of someone who would rather run away and hide than face the enemy at times, It can be a meaningless word if  I am not learning to be courageous about things that matter.

1. Face my fears.
I cannot ever overcome that dark shadow if I am unwilling to come clean and face the fear that crouches in the corner. I must let God's Word illuminate my heart to expose those dark places that need his healing or refining. Fears of the unknown can make its way around my heart and wrap me so tight it makes it hard to breathe. When it's boiled down  This Kind of Fear is actually a lack of trust that God has my best in mind. 

2. Do what is right. Always.
This takes tremendous courage. In a world that tells us to do what we feel, I serve a master who never gives me that advise...Rather he says do what I do. This means that even if I feel awkward doing the right thing. Even if I don't feel it is deserved. Even if I have to swallow hard. I must do it anyway. I should pray for those who mistreat me. Stand up for truth when I would rather be quiet. Look for opportunities to do good.
Some people call that fake. Which could be the case... Or maybe we could call it forming good habits. Just like running on a treadmill. Sometimes I start out with a really bad attitude as I exercise. I don't want to do it, but either way in the end I get the benefit of the exercise. When I begin to form those good habits eventually it becomes part of me, but if I lack the courage to start to do the right thing, to step out and exercise those heart muscles, my habits won't change no matter how many books I read or how much counsel I get.
Do it anyway until I feel like it.

3. Engage.
I need to Engage my whole self in God's call. Getting hurt has a way of making us not want to feel the fire again. I want  the courage it takes to step up and out. I can't begin to describe the feeling that rises in me when I think of this word but I know that it is not  from God. I need his strength to overcome that battle. I have become very comfortable in my spot and engagement feels stretching and icky and uncomfortable.

4. Say no.
This takes as much courage as engaging at times. The word  NO can seem like rejection. I hate rejection. I hate being rejected and being perceived as rejectionary. So, often its just easier for me to say yes. But I must learn to say no to the things that weigh me down. No to more stuff. No to my way first. No to distractions.  No to comparison. And yes, even the courage to say No to good things at times.
No can be a positive word if It's a no to things that keep me from His best.

5. Make Changes.
This is a hard one if change comes hard. But the quote, "If you keep doing what you've always done, you will keep getting what you've always gotten", reminds me change will never occur until I am willing to make some hard, courageous decisions to change. 

If I try to do this on my own. I will fail.

The Remedy?
Remembering this promise.
He is always with me. So what have I to fear?

 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.”
~Hebrews 13:5

He is here With me. That should be enough. 

Courage may come at a price. 
It usually does. But I can rest assured I am never alone. And I will never be Forsaken. 

Courageous. 

To be all in for Him.









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