Thoughts For the New Year

I wrote the Christmas card and tucked the gift card inside. Then I wrote her
name on the envelope and attached a string through a tiny hole.
Dear “Friend”,
This is a gift with a string attached. Should you choose to play along with me,
this gift card can only be used at a time when we visit this coffeehouse
In other words, time spent together is really the gift. (So, perhaps this is really
a gift to myself:)
Merry Christmas!
Love, Michele

Thinking I was pretty clever, I told my daughter of this gift idea. She smiled her
cute but sarcastic smile and said, “Mom. Do you really think spending time
with you is a gift? Like, do you really think you’re a gift?”
She makes me laugh.

When thinking about the new year and a fresh start, I sat down to pray and
ponder about what I’d like 2019 to look like. What changes do I want to make?
What are some ways I can make a difference?

I decided I wanted this year’s changes to not focus on self-improvement or
what I can do to better myself; rather, changes that will make a difference in other’s lives. This year I want to be intentional to care more for those around me, to invest in the community(s) God has gifted me with.
I want my life to make other’s lives better.

To that end, these five attributes encompass what I want 2019 to include:
To be more generous
To be more kind
To be more encouraging
To be less critical
To give the gift of time

1) To be more generous-
You’ve heard the old (but true) saying, “You can’t outgive God.” This year I
want to test Him on this. I pray that my giving would be marked by sacrifice
and great joy. I pray for new and creative ways to give generously- not only
financially, but by the generous giving of praise, encouragement, kindness,
and time.

2) To be more kind-
Having or showing a friendly, generous and considerate nature.
I want to be like Tabitha, who lived in Joppa and was mentioned in Acts 9.36.
“She was always doing kind things for others and helping the poor.”
I don’t want to win the approval of others, but simply to live out of the
abundance of kindness the Lord and others have shown me.

3) To be more encouraging-
“You can do this!” “I am for you!” “God is bigger than this insurmountable
mountain you’re facing!” “I understand.” “I’m so sorry.” “I’ve been there, too.”
“Let’s pray.”
Perhaps the most encouraging story in scripture is that of Aaron and Hur as
they encourage Moses.
While Joshua led the troops into battle, Moses, along with Aaron and Hur,
watched the battle from a nearby hill. Exodus 17:11 reads, “So it came about
when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand
down, Amalek prevailed.” As Moses became weary both physically and
mentally, Aaron and Hur took their places on either side of Moses and held his
arms high. We all need those in our lives who walk beside us and lift us up.
This year I want to be more of an encourager to those around me.

4) To be less critical-
I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day. As I was telling
her about this conviction I’ve had of being less critical towards others, I came
to understand how personal a conviction this really is. What is a critical spirit
for me may not be for everyone else. It all comes down to spending time with
Jesus asking Him to reveal your heart and motives.
For me, it is usually birthed out of my thinking someone else isn’t doing a task
the way I would have done it. That my way is the better way.
This year I want to value others opinions and ideas and walk with an open
heart and open hands. I want to hold my ministries, my projects, my ideas
loosely, ready to give up ownership when needed, especially in order to
honor others.

5) The gift of time-
Lastly, I want to give those around me my most valuable asset, my time.
Granted, not everyone’s love language is the gift of quality time, but I believe we all could benefit from a little time spent with a friend. As I decorated our farm house in Ohio, one of the first things I did was add a saying above the
doorway in the kitchen that read, “Never too busy for friendship or tea.” I
cringe when people tell me I’m too busy. I may have a full schedule and lots of things on my calendar, but I never want anyone to think I’m too busy to spend time with them.
People are one of the few things we get to take with us to heaven. They are
where I want to spend my time.

One comment

  1. Marcia MacLean says:

    I have company coming and should be cleaning right now. I’m so glad I took the time to read this. For me, you are my E. F. Hutton. When you talk (or write), I listen. Your 5 goals for 2019 are something I want to be more mindful of and try to accomplish. I really wish we lived closer. You are such an inspiration for me.

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