New Years Resolutions...
As the holidays are ending, and we have already sent one son back to California with only a few days left here with the other before he also hops a flight, my thoughts turn to the new year, to hopes for what is to come. I am not usually one to make New Years' resolutions. I don't like to set myself up for failure! But I do have new year hopes and some personal goals that I hope to achieve. As I've thought through things this holiday, I've done a lot of evaluating of attitudes. The Serenity Prayer has come often to my mind. I found the full version online, though it is the short quote (the first paragraph) that has been in my heart these days:
Serenity Prayer God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next. Amen. - Reinhold Niebuhr
(I had never read the whole prayer, but it is well worth remembering.)
And in pondering this prayer, I realize that there is really only one thing I can change - me. We can't change other people (be they relative, friend, neighbor, coworker, or stranger) - their attitudes or actions or choices are their own. We do have power to change ourselves, with God's help, by God's grace. So this is my goal and prayer for the new year. To be more understanding, more loving, more trusting of God's goodness.
The verse God has given me to focus on right now is Philippians 4:8:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
I was thinking about that first phrase - whatever is true - and as I was praying today, saw "true" in a new light. Jesus tells us, "You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free." He also said, "I am the truth." And it occurred to me that to think on what is true is to think about Jesus, yes. But it is also to see a situation as it truly is. Not as I see it only through the lens of my emotion or point of view, but as it is.
Too often we see through a glass darkly - we see each event or relationship in life through our own filters. As human beings, we don't easily put ourselves in the shoes of another. We can't see with their perspective. We see only through the narrow view of our life's experience.
But to think of what is true means to see the events and relationships of life the way God sees them. He alone knows the whole situation, sees the motives that lie within the human heart. But as we get to know Him better, we gain access to His wisdom, and since He is truth, He can reveal the truth of things to us (particularly the truth of our own attitudes) if we but ask. And as we know the truth, the truth will set us free to think about what is good and pure and lovely and admirable and excellent and praiseworthy.
To think anew, to hope anew, to love anew.
May 2012 bring each of you His truth and His serenity.
Happy New Year!