"Deacon G" Gautrau
Finally, a new year. We can look back on last year and review just how things turned out. Certainly there were good things and bad things that happened, some over which we had control and others not. Did we go through life allowing things to happen to us or did we make things happen? What will we do this year to affect the outcome? Do we have a plan?
Many of us get to December each year and think, “I can’t wait for this year to end,” particularly if it hasn’t been the year we expected. We mistakenly believe that when we tear the last page from the calendar, that the slate will be wiped clean. Hope springs eternal, but the truth is that we have the opportunity to do this every day. How we approach life and how it turns out begins with our attitude.
So how do we ensure that we will be better off this year?
Generally this is a “step-by-step” process and by “step-by-step” I mean taking the first step and taking small steps. Let’s look at these aspects of our lives: mental, physical, financial and spiritual; and how we can make this happen.
Mental-We can choose a topic we’ve always wanted to know more about, but not had the time to learn about. We then buy a book on the topic or look it up on the Internet and devote just a few minutes each day or week to learning as much as we want to know about that topic. We mustn’t overload ourselves. The process should be enjoyable as well as enlightening. Our mind set will determine our success.Physical-The first resolution many of us make for the New Year is to diet and lose weight. It is also the first resolution we break. Again, success is more likely if we take a day-by-day, step-by-step process to reaching our goal. If we stop thinking of diet as a “four letter word” and recognize it as a life enhancing process, we will be more successful. The road to improving our physical condition can begin as simply as drinking more water each day and minimal exercise, such as a 15 to 20 minute brisk walk every other day. By consuming 100 calories less each day (one soft drink), or burning 100 calories a day through exercise (for someone who weighs about 150 pounds, walking a 12 minute mile), we will lose over 10 pounds in a year.
Financial-We can look at the glass half-full or half empty. How many of us could use $667.95? If we would put a penny in a box today, then 2 cents tomorrow and increase the deposit daily for a year, we’d have that amount, or if we couldn’t remember to increase it each day, we could just put $1.83 in the box every day. Often our financial goals aren’t met because we only see the end result and don’t plan how to get there. Let’s make a goal, create a step-by-step plan, follow it, and we’ll be sure to see our desired result.
Before I get to the last aspect of our lives, I wanted to clear up one thing. I started by asking the question, “how do we ensure that will be better off this year?” The key word is “ensure”. The word ensure means to make sure or certain. Of the four areas of our life addressed here, this is the one area where I can definitely ensure that if we follow these steps we will be successful.
Spiritual-We can begin each day with prayer and reconcile ourselves with God and those we hurt throughout the year. It’s practically impossible to start the day off in a bad mood, if we begin it in prayer, talking to Him who gives us all that we have. Asking Him for support in all that we do.
Drawing on Him for strength in overcoming the daily challenges of our lives. Giving Him thanks for all that he does for us. Praying for family and friends, world leaders, those less fortunate than us and for anyone who needs to be touched by His love on that day. And let’s not forget the second step, reconciliation. It truly wipes the slate clean with both God and neighbor.
The basis of my assurance that we will have an enhanced spiritual life if we follow these steps is wrapped in the words, “Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours. When you stand to pray, forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance, so that your heavenly Father may in turn forgive you your transgressions.” (Mark 11:24-25)
Let’s all take the first steps to making this the best year of our lives!