2108, you have indeed been quite a year. While it has been a year of many good things, this has also been a year of turmoil and tension on a national level. Witnessing a rise in rhetoric and actions against people of color doing everyday things, “while being black” has gotten ridiculous. We have been bombarded, through media, with daily tweets of anger, rage, and blame against anyone and everyone. We are becoming a society of people pointing our fingers outward and blaming others for all of our problems and woes. If I were to sum it up, I would say that it seems that there is a climate of increasing fear that is driving the hearts of so many. We are changing whether we want to admit it or not. And that has been hard to see.
While we cannot always change or prevent what is happening on a global basis, we can effect change in our corner of the world where we reside, or better put, within us. I believe in the power of goodness in people. I believe there is always a remnant of goodness, no matter how discouraging the look is outward. If you removed the rage from people, you would see there is fear hiding driving it.
So as I say good-bye to 2018 and look to 2019, I choose to look inwardly at what will make the new year a good and positive thing. I ask myself, what can I do to make it one of hope and goodness. How can I begin to choose to change myself inwardly? Here are my thoughts…
- I will anchor myself more consistently in the Word of God through Bible Study, praying and surrounding myself with people who believe in a Holy and living God. Sometimes we all need, affirmation and encouragement and helping us remember God is indeed in control of all things and that He is at work around us. The outflow of this will help weather us through anything that is happening around us. And then maybe we can show what love is and what love looks like in the midst of a fearful world.
- I will try to help others more as I see the need arising. This can be through volunteering in some way, praying for others more consistently or giving more charitably. We can indeed effect change through paying it forward or making a difference through one single action, towards one single human. All of this can be initiated by looking outward not not so much inward, as we all tend to do at times. I think we sometimes forget how much a smile from a stranger can mean to someone having a rough day, or holding the door or letting someone in line before us.
- I will be a better steward of what God has given me. Unfortunately we tend to take for granted our possessions and accumulations and want to obtain more and more. After all, isn’t that what advertisers bombard us with daily?. This is a good time to recognize that more is not necessarily better, but rather, cherish and take care of what I already have, whether it be possessions or relationships. An attitude of gratitude is a beautiful thing to see in people and it has to begin with me. It is a good thing to let people know you cherish them. Maybe in 2019 before I act on something, I will begin to ask myself more “is the outcome of my actions hurting or helping a situation?”.
- I will take care of myself. This is the only body I have, and it is getting older by the day. I must do everything I can to take care of it. That means being more intentional in my eating, my exercising and my maintenance of it, both physically and mentally. Challenging myself to move more, to affirm myself mentally and to reverse some of my bad habits is just a beginning. It is a start in the right direction, and as long as we are living and breathing, we have another chance and another opportunity.
I believe these four areas are good focuses for me to begin. I challenge you to find your focus for 2019. Make it your best year. Create a plan that will propel you forward. You owe it to yourself!