A New Charge for a New Year

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Welcome to 2018!  You have arrived!

You have arrived at the land of new beginnings … of a fresh start … of a spanking, clean and untouched calendar year.

It’s time for you to turn the page from the old to the new … from the used to the immaculate … and from the damaged to the spotless.

Are you up for the task?

I always love anything new!

I love a new notebook … a new Bible … a new friend … a new novel … a new recipe … or a new baby!  There is just something so remarkable about that which is as yet unstained and fresh.

I love knowing that I have truly learned from past mistakes but that past mistakes do not hold any damaging power in my current life. I cherish moving beyond previous blunders and former miscalculations into the arena of brilliant potential and exciting possibility.

I hope that as you tackle the New Year with your face to the wind and with your back to previous blunders that you will not minimize the impact that this year holds. My prayer is that your resolutions will have nothing to do with a number on a scale, with figures in a debit column or with simply adding a stamp to your passport.

365 days.  52 weeks. 12 months. 1 year.

8,760 hours. 525,600 minutes. 31,536,000 seconds.

As a woman who has become an expert of sorts on how to embrace life at its very heart, I’d like to share with you three simple ways to live well in 2018.

Are you ready? 

It will only take about 10 minutes of the 525,600 minutes that you have been given this year… and … after all … what do you have to lose?!  Even if you feel that you have absolutely wasted the next 10 minutes by listening to my heart and by reading this blog … you will still have 525,590 minutes left!

I actually believe that you might just gain a thing or two as you glean from what I have learned from 63 attempts at embracing a new year with uninhibited gusto!

First of all – remind yourself daily that it is the little things that give you the gift of living a big life.

Hold a baby … smile at a stranger … save a dollar … read a good book … visit with your neighbor … send flowers to a childhood friend … volunteer at church … encourage someone at work … giggle with a 4 year old … listen to a grieving widow … take your pastor’s family out to lunch … call your mom.

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It is the little things in life that are the building blocks of a larger-than-expected existence. It is no small thing to be faithful in the little things.

The little things of today become the big things of tomorrow.

Pay your bills on time … read your Bible every day … sing out loud while you drive … reminisce with your siblings … stay positive on social media … bake cookies for the neighborhood kids … let someone else go first.

It’s the little things in life that occupy the largest part of your days so give them the measure of importance that they deserve.

Secondly – die to self daily this year.

Every morning when you wake up … on all 365 days of living … choose to die.

Tell yourself at the break of every dawn, “This is the day that I will die to self … to opinion … and to preference.”

That doesn’t sound like very much fun, does it?

But in reality, it is the best investment you will ever make in establishing vibrant relationships, in living a truly powerful life and in choosing to leave a grand legacy.

Die to self daily.

I have always loved this long quote by one of my role models, Elisabeth Elliot, whose husband, Jim Elliott, was martyred for the cause of Christ. 

“When you are forgotten, or neglected, or purposely set at naught, and you don’t sting and hurt with the insult or by the oversight, but your heart is happy, being counted worthy to suffer for Christ … That is dying to self.

When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinions ridiculed, and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart, or even defend yourself, but take it all in patient loving silence … that is dying to self.

When you are content with any food, any offering, any raiment, any climate, any society, any solitude, any interruption by the will of God … that is dying to self.

When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation, or to record your own good works, or itch after commendation, when you can truly love to be unknown … that is dying to self.

When you can see your brother prosper and have his needs met, and can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy, nor question God, while your own needs are far greater and in desperate circumstances … that is dying to self.

Are you dead yet?!

“That I may know Him … being made conformable to His death. – Philippians 3:10”

And finally … just be kind

Default to kindness in every situation, with every person and at every questionable juncture.

Be kind while shopping … while talking … while working … while traveling … while parenting … while serving … while communicating.

Be passionately and perpetually kind for 31,536,000 seconds of 2018.

Be kind to your spouse … to your co-workers … to your children … to your parents … to the mailman … to the girl in the fast food window … to the receptionist in the doctor’s office … to anyone and everyone.

Just be kind.

Don’t allow a day or a situation to pass without taking the opportunity to be enthusiastically kind.

Make it your goal this year to be the kindest person alive at your moment in history.

Don’t lay your head on your pillow at night unless you have been kind to at least one difficult person.

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Don’t try to be right … just be kind.

Don’t try to outshout others … just be kind.

Don’t be impatient … be kind instead.

Don’t push and shove … just be sweetly kind.

If you can embrace these three challenging but simple pieces of wisdom, when you turn the calendar page from 2018 to 2019 … or from time to eternity … you will be a person who has no lasting regrets.

You will have the sweet assurance that you have made the most of every single day that was given to you by the Creator of the universe.

Thanks for listening to my heart this week.  As you know by now, my heart is truly not a perfect heart but it is a heart that is filled to overflowing with gratitude for the life I have been given and for the people who walk with me.  And, it continues to be a heart that is relentlessly chasing after God and all that He is!