Monday, December 31, 2012

Out With the Old, In with the New

It's the last day of the year and if you're anything like me, you look back over this last year with many great memories as well as the knowledge that you failed in many respects. Maybe it's just me. This year was full of incredible blessings, adventures, lessons, and memories. I am surrounded by amazing family, I live in a beautiful home, I have the opportunity to attend a phenomenal school, I can see, hear, smell, taste, and feel, and best of all I have been given the most amazing and undeserved gift--the gift of God's love and redemption of a truly wretched sinner. Yet daily I face the choice to please my God and Savior or myself. I have the opportunity to serve God and the people around me or to focus on myself. I can either put God first or I can live to satisfy my desires. Much more often than I wish, I choose the path that makes me feel good momentarily.

I have struggled to put God first in everything. I have failed to daily make God my anchor and yet I never fail to prioritize facebook or other such trivial nothings. Is it any wonder that I get to the end of the day and feel like I didn't accomplish what I should have? If I can't keep the most important things in life in order I have no business making time for the insignificant things. I look back at the last year or two and I regret all the time I wasted. I regret how much time I spent on things that the next day or next week mean nothing to me and didn't draw me closer to God or to my family or even strengthen my mind and character. I do not want this next year to hold the same regrets, to be full of the same mistakes, or to have produced as little as I feel this last year has. 

In the past I've been a resolutions person. Every year I write out things that I want to accomplish, change, do, or not do in the coming year. Every year I look back at the previous list and I see many of the same things as I just wrote. I remember falling behind in my Bible reading schedule when life "got busy," or missing a few days of my workout regimen and then never really getting back on track. I got discouraged because it wasn't perfect or as easy or as glamorous as it seemed at first and the whole thing ends up in the trash. I give up way to easily. How I'd hate to be known as someone who gives up and quits because something is hard or doesn't go as I had planned or hoped. I don't want this next year to be the same. I want to look back on the year and see that yes, I did struggle to do my quiet time each day, but I didn't give up, I picked back up and kept going. Yes, I did miss several days of exercise, but I didn't just quit, I moved on and got back on track. No, I wasn't as intentional today as I planned to be, but that doesn't mean tomorrow can't be different. 

So I'm not making a list of resolutions for the year, but there are a few things that I want to set as my guidelines for this year:

"Where ever you are, be all there." 
It is easy for me to try to be planning out tomorrow while it is still today. I need to learn to live each day and each moment as it comes, learning to be intentional with my time and efforts knowing that what I do today is shaping who I will be tomorrow. 

"For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." Gal 5:13 
We have been crucified with Christ and need not be slaves to sin any more. Christian liberty does not give us freedom to do as we choose as please the flesh. We are children of God called to serve Him through our freedom.

"Let no one seek his own, but each one the other's well-being." 1 Cor 10:24
To love others and seek to be a blessing is to love God and live in humility. It is nearly impossible to live in pride and self-centeredness when we are more concerned about other than about ourselves. 

"If anyone among you things he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue he deceives his own heart and this one's religion is useless." James 1:26
Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. I pray that the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart will be pleasing to the Lord and edifying to those around me. That my speech will be seasoned with grace and love. That criticism and pride will be far from me and that God's love will shine through me even when I find it hard to love others. 

So as we say farewell to the old year and welcome in the new, I earnestly pray that God will help me to say farewell to the "old man" and put on the new with sincerity, grace, love, and humility. However God has taught me some much needed lessons this year and I pray that I will not soon forget them. I am eager to see where God leads me this next year and what new lessons He has in store. 

Happy 2013!!!!!!!

1 comment:

  1. Marissa,

    Grace to you and peace from God, our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Let me offer another verse, James 1:25...

    But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

    This not so much to give you something new to do or to add, because you already show that you realize where the truth is, and the Scriptures have led you into some of it already. Instead, I want to encourage you to continue in it. Don't 'walk away and forget what sort of woman you are,' to paraphrase what goes before this verse, but continue in it that you might be conformed to Christ, the 'law of liberty on feet.'

    In all, remember that you are His, friend and child of Yahweh, the Living God. Look in that mirror, the perfect law of liberty, and think "predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus, my elder brother in the faith."

    Thanks be to God.

    Christ's blessings on you.