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quote: The purpose of your time here on earth Is not primarily about acquiring possessions, attaining status, achieving success, or experiencing happiness. Those are secondary issues. Life is all about love – with God and with other people. You may succeed in many areas, but if you fail to learn how to love God and love others, you’d have missed the reason why God created you.

2023 ~ 2024

The closing of one year and the transition to a new year isn't the most pleasant for everyone. Some have experienced significant loss in the closing year. Some have experienced trauma. Others, health diagnoses that have entered the picture in the old year and are drearily leading the way into the new. Some are facing their "firsts" without someone they loved and the looming of many "firsts" can feel overwhelming.

I have been working an overnight shift at an Independent Living facility this evening to morning. There was a large swarm of residents who were celebrating the new year as I entered the building four hours before midnight. Some were drinking and dancing like they were in their 20's instead of their 90's! The majority of the community here was having quite a party.

Then, there was a small handful of residents who stayed in their rooms, choosing to go to bed sooner rather than later and closing their eyes to something that made them depressed during the year - a loss of a spouse, a loss of independence, the loss of their home, and a slew of other things.

When I walked into the Office here to catch up with the other girls, there was the obituary card for one of our residents who had passed near the very end of 2023. It was a solemn reminder that we never know when our last 'new year' will be.

I started out my shift feeling pretty down. I quickly dodged my way around the party scene, heading to the other elevator up. Truthfully, I had to visit the restroom for some slow, deep breaths and to stop some tears before I made it to the Office. I felt like it has been the worst year of my life.

I think I really needed the different perspective of work this evening to collect my selfish self and recognize that, while I have faced loss, struggle, hypocrisy and trauma this last year, I have also been very blessed by those around me who have lifted me when I was low and reminded me over and over again that God is good - all the time - and protects, speaks to and fights for those who love and seek after Him.

Thankfully, God doesn't expect perfection from us. There was only One Who was perfect. Perfection was the bloody body of Jesus, hanging from a wooden cross, whipped and beaten and shamed and dying. That was perfection. That was God's plan for redemption placed in the precious form of a man who knowingly and willingly walked to the hill where He would be crucified for us. That was love.

There are a million things we each could choose to focus on as we are beginning this new year of 2024. We've all read the usual 'New Year's Resolutions". Life changes - rededications - untangling commitments - health and wealth and a mindfulness to deploy the joy.

What I am learning is that we can be quickly overwhelmed by a mile high stack of well-intentioned dreams, regardless of the pure motives behind each one.

What I am personally doing is writing down a list of 5 things that I hope to better myself in, not give up on, and push through - and I am purposefully praying over each one and then checking in on my 'short stack' list as I move through each week. If you think this sounds good to you too, I recommend duplicating the list of 5 and putting the lists in different places where they can be seen regularly - in your car, on the fridge, on the wall by your bed, taped to a drawer on your dresser...

Remember that you aren't perfect. It sounds like an easy thing to remember - but the heft of our self-induced pressures and self-generated judgements can make for a quicksand-like momentum rather than a steadily progressive pace. We tend to create and then carry around faulty perspectives of ourselves that are unfiltered by God when we feel we aren't meeting standards that we should. But when we are as patient with ourselves as God is... we take on a completely different viewpoint of the mountains and valleys ahead and our progression through each.

The truth is that we have no idea if God has a few more days planned for us or years or decades. The Bible tells us not to worry about tomorrow, often admittedly easier said than done, however, that scripture is there for a reason. We don't know - but we do trust. And for each day that we are given in 2024, let us each be open to what God wants to do with us, to us and through us.

Take your list of 5 and pray over it. Let God adapt it and correct it and advance it as needed.

God works in adversity. The boundaries we set are not God's boundaries.

May you find strength and peace in God as you take each day at a time. God is the God of all wisdom and that wisdom is ours as we seek and ask. May we each realize every day that every day is not our own. We are only a tool in the hand of the carpenter.

Love on the journey,

Sarah Jane

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2 commentaires

Chris Yokley
Chris Yokley
02 janv.

Awesome! God also says not to dwell on the past, remember it, use it as a learning tool and drive on, the past for me helps me minister to others and to feel what they feel and help them walk God's path that he has written in our book of life.

03 janv.
En réponse à

Thank you, Chris. So very true!

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