Every year for a long time, I’ve reflected on the past 12 months and netted out the most significant things I learned. Here’s this year’s edition (go here to see previous years’ lists) . . .
- Stop protecting God and get comfortable with the gap. I often hesitate to pray for certain things because the odds are so stacked against the outcome I want. That’s not consistent with the New Testament. We’re instructed to pray. God hears our prayers, but there’ll almost always be a gap between what I ask for and what He does. And that’s ok. It’s up to me to obey and pray. It’s up to Him to respond and decide what happens.
- I am not a work in progress. I am complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10), just not mature. Think of it like a new smartphone, where all the apps download at activation. It’s up to me to open, explore, and utilize the apps. Same is true for our faith. Our willingness to be vulnerable, our ability to understand Scripture, to sense the Holy Spirit, to give grace when it makes no sense . . . all those ‘apps’ are there from conversion. Maturing is activating those elements of our faith.
- People respect and remember you for what you do far more than for what you say. Jesus was different from any prophet because of what He did.
- Life begins and ends with selfishness. Helpless babies end up as helpless old people. It’s what happens in between that matters. Give yourself away. If you reap what you sow and it’s all about you, then, in the end, all you’ll have is you and some memories.
- Being fully present starts with the five senses.
- See the person you’re with or the place you’re in.
- Hear what they’re saying and thoughtfully receive it.
- Feel what they feel and what you feel at the same time.
- Smell things . . . take time to recognize and appreciate aromas
- Taste what you’re eating . . . slow down and savor.
- Brothering is a verb. Find your brothers and live in community with them.
- Don’t miss the life you have, comparing it to the life you think is possible but doesn’t really exist.
- Fatigue, weariness, and “heavy-laden” are very different things. Fatigue is physical and cured with rest. Weariness is mental and cured with surrender. “Heavy-laden” is spiritual and cured with trusting God with our burdens.
- God doesn’t need us to be enforcers; He wants us to be a grace-givers.
- This life has meaning by finding, following, being changed by, and joining the work of Jesus.
Happy New Year and thanks for reading!
Scripture: So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority. (Colossians 2:10)