“Life is a competition, not with others but with ourselves. We should seek each day to live stronger, better, truer lives; each day to master some weakness of yesterday; each day to repair a mistake; each day to surpass ourselves.” —David B. Haight
I love January 1st.
In fact, it just may be my favorite day of the year.
I love putting the new calendar on the fridge.. empty of commitments and appointments, nothing yet penciled in. For me it is a day of reflection, a day of great expectations, but mostly a day of hope. I know many feel that the new year and the tradition of making resolutions to be a shallow and a pointless practice. I know statistically that by the 3rd week of January most of those lofty goals and grand intentions have been tossed to the wayside, but that doesn’t keep me from feeling a hopeful, giddy delight every January 1st as I sit and make my lists…my lists of aspirations and goals.
This weekend, as I sat in front of the Christmas tree.. now losing its needles and half empty of ornaments, due in large part to Olive stealing them from the lower branches, I look forward to the promise of winter.
It is a time of renewal, of rest, of routines and new beginnings. It is a chance to start over. A chance to try again. An opportunity to be a little better than I was last year. It is a reminder that we aren’t shackled by yesterday’s mistakes. We aren’t defined my last year’s failed resolutions. We aren’t imprisoned by our past. We have the chance to let go of yesterday’s failures and hold tight to the hope of tomorrow.
Just as the dying Christmas tree gets hauled out of the house and the pine needles (the many, many, many pine needles) get vacuumed up, this is our opportunity to “clean house.”
To let go of the bad and embrace the better.
A chance to change our choices.
I think what is most important to remember is that just like cleaning house it can’t be done on January 1st and left until next year. It isn’t about the lofty goals and the unobtainable expectations. It is about the daily choices. It is about choosing to do a little better today than you did yesterday.
It is overwhelming to consider making big changes or to think, ”I have to maintain this for a lifetime,” but that is not what God has called us to do.
He doesn’t ask us to make life long changes.
He asks us to make daily choices…and those small daily choices add up to a life well lived.
So, as you ponder your new year’s resolutions don’t ask yourself, “What am I going to change about my life this year?” instead ask yourself “What am I going to change about myself today? How am I going to be a little better? How am I going to stand a little taller? What will I choose for my life this day?”
Max Lucado said it best when he said..
“I choose love..
No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose love. Today I will love God and what God loves.
I choose joy…
I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical..the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.
I choose peace…
I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live.
I choose patience…
I will overlook the inconveniences of the world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I’ll invite him to do so. Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clinching my fists at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage.
I choose kindness..
I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.
I choose goodness…
I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I accuse. I choose goodness.
I choose gentleness…
Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice may it only be in praise. If I clench my fist may it only be in prayer. If I make a demand may it be only of myself.
I choose self-control…
I am a spiritual being..after this body is dead, my spirit will soar. I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal. I choose self-control. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my faith. I will be influenced only by God. I will be taught only by Christ. I choose self-control.
Love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek his grace. And then when this day is done I will place my head on my pillow and rest.”
– Max Lucado
What will you choose this day?