"Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you, a better person." ~ Benjamin Franklin
5. Social media makes braggarts of us all! The more interaction I have with social media, the more I see the simplicity of "showing off" at the heart of most posts and tweets. When did we as a society become like this?? I mean I never have, and still don't know many people over the age of 13 who would openly walk around telling thousands of "friends" on a daily basis how wonderful their life is. To a handful of close personal friends and family members, maybe! But this obsession with showing off to the world...it has become a sickness. **Exception Alert** I must admit, I'm always talking about how wonderful my children are at some point or another. But in my defense I claim the same ailment that has plagued mothers since the beginning of time: absolute, unconditional, and blinding Love for one's child. So for moms on social media, you have a pass; you can't help it, it's in your DNA to brag on your children. For those burning up the newsfeeds showing off material possessions that are here today and gone tomorrow, consider toning it down some in 2015, and focusing more (about 90% of the time) on the things that can not be bought or taken away.
4. Being results oriented alone regarding spiritual matters can be a source of extreme discouragement. I've learned this just in the last two days from a discussion with an old acquaintance. I am by nature a results oriented person. I set goals, I create procedures, I plan accordingly, and I anticipate the results based on all of the aforementioned. This is vital to business and even personal success, but ministry and spiritual results are completely in God's hands. Even invoking the most basic principles of sowing and reaping are grounded in His sovereign favor. HE is the one who provides the seed for the sower; HE provides the rain in due season; HE gives strength and knowledge to reap the harvest. Therefore, obedience to act on God's leading is a gift, and the results MUST be left to HIS hand and HIS timing. Expecting our obedience to result in what WE want is a recipe for disappointment. The answer is to simply obey His instructions and leave the results to Him. This leads to joy on the journey of surrender.
3. Always call the police when you are hit by another driver, even if it is on private property because people will lie on you, and the insurance company may deny your claim, and you won't get your car fixed. This one is pretty self explanatory.
2. Enjoying life is optional. Of everything on my list, this has been the hardest lesson to digest. And honestly it took several weeks of "private practice" and "baby steps" to even get started. I'm still in the beginning stages of this journey, but here's the gist of it: I am and always have been the one to nurture and place the needs, wants, and preferences of others above my own, even to my own detriment. Nothing really wrong with this approach to life, but the truth is that nothing is really right with it either. The best approach lies somewhere in the middle of caring for others and caring for self; somewhere in the middle of enjoying what God blessed you with and giving it away to others. No one is going to make you care for yourself, and enjoy the life God blessed you with, so both are optional. YOU have to decide to say thank you to God and receive for YOURSELF some of the goodness, opportunities, and blessings God has allowed you to see. No one is going to force it on you.
1. There is a difference between those who care at the moment/publicly/when it's to their advantage, and those who care. Know the difference. Definitely the biggest lesson I have learned in a variety of ways this year; it is something you will want to make a clear mental note of and never forget. There will be many people you will come across in your lifetime who will shock you with public displays of friendship and concern, but will shock you even more with private apathy and dismissal. There are those who will hold tight when you have something to offer, or when befriending you gains them some kind of advantage, but will despise and reject your friendship when those times have passed. Those who care are consistent in their care whether it is a small or life changing matter. They will entertain the silliest calls and smallest concerns that will never, ever get recognized publicly or warrant an IOU. Not because of the subject matter, but because of you.
I hope some of my lessons of 2014 will be helpful to you today and in the coming year. May 2015 bring the fulfillment of every promise God ever spoke, and every dream you've ever dreamed!
~Pouring my life out in worship, like Costly Oil~