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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Focusing on the Good

With each New Year come all sorts of feelings about life.  Reflection abounds; navel-gazing is encouraged.  Many of us vow to do certain things more and other things less, and have a fresh and improved outlook.  Often the things that we want to change are things that we’ve wanted to change for some time, but haven’t for various reasons: it isn’t the right time, it’s too difficult, I can’t right now, I don’t want to. 

Somehow the turn of a New Year gives us permission to revamp things, and we jump full-force into it, trying our hardest to lose the bad and let the good lead.

And then, because we are real people and not robots, we fail.

The old habits sneak back in.  The old patterns of thinking resurface, the old annoyances trip us up again, and the old ways return.  We find ourselves going back to what we were doing before the New Year came with its glittery promises of refreshment and renewal.  Why bother trying to change?  We sigh in defeat.

I come to this point every year, sometimes not even much past January.  Small changes that seem so easy at the start of the year quickly become burdens that I can’t possibly carry on my own.  I can’t escape who I am, who too easily falls and slips back into old habits that aren’t always so great for anyone involved.

This mentality is self-defeating, but negativity and pessimism are so easy to fall back on if you’re comfortable there.  To look forward with a smile on your face despite looming obstacles seems so silly.  Why not scowl back at reality?  It mocks optimism in all forms.

But I’m not there yet.

Here at the beginning of the year, nothing much can squash that optimism.  The fresh New Year is here, and my prayer is to live the whole year, and each one thereafter, with a changing attitude that allows me to look at the bright spots first, and maybe even to shine some light into the dark areas before they pull me into their comfortable cocoons.

Who better to share my New Year resolution with than Jesus?  After all, he is the one who gives us this amazing renewal in the first place.

Dear Lord, please help me to change the way that I approach life this year.  Help me to see the good parts first. Shine your light in my life so that it can reflect off of me onto others.  Thanks for your amazing gift which brings hope.  Amen.

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Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. Psalm 125:1 (NIV)

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