I'm never very excited about New Year's.
Christmas is full of friends and family, fun and surprises, warm fuzzies and faith. New Year's is a flip of the calendar, high expectations to do better, and resolutions to make it so. "Happy New Year" echoes hollowly everywhere I go, and I think, "How will saying it mean this year is any happier?"
I am the grinch that stole New Year's.
The scary part of a new year is, there is much I have little control over. I can't make this year any better than last. I can't change what's happened; I can't take away the pain. The decisions of last year will affect this year, and I can't make it any different.
What can I do? This is my list, in no particular order.
1. I can be thankful. There is wrenching pain, loss and difficulty, but every day holds blessings. I will focus on these blessings, count them and thank God for them daily.
2. I can dream. When dreams have gone sour, it's tempting to say, "I will never dream again." I'm not doing that. I am a dreamer and I will dream and continue to work to make my dreams reality.
3. I can buy myself little treats. All my adult life, I have denied myself. It's usually for economic reasons, but it can become a habit, and not a nourishing one. Everything I have my eye on, is inexpensive and won't break the budget. A magazine. A pair of earrings. A piece of clothing. I've fallen into the thinking that if I spend the money on something that isn't absolutely necessary, disaster might occur before the next payday, and then what am I going to do? I will never go wild and crazy with my money, but I will allow myself to loosen up a little.
4. I can sing and pray and quote scripture to deal with fear. I can't say I won't be fearful and never worry. If I promised that, I would fail at one minute after midnight on January first. I'm a person who struggles constantly with fear, and worried thoughts hover in my brain. But I will fight back. "When I get really afraid, I come to You in trust." Ps. 56:3 The Message
5. I can encourage, praise and build up. There is a whole world of people out there who are constantly being put down and made to feel that they make no valuable contribution. I can work to convince the ones in my life that they are a special creation of God and a blessing. "Thank you for doing that." "I appreciate your attitude." "You did a great job, thanks." Everyone needs to hear praise on a regular basis, and I can be the one to give it.
6. I can get excited. I've always been an enthusiastic person, but sometimes people, and even life, crush my enthusiasm. When it gets extinguished, I am embarrassed and sometimes decide I will keep my excitement to myself. I'm not doing it. I will be excited and anticipate and look forward with enthusiasm, no matter what the final outcome.
7. I can walk forward. I may have to refer to #4 constantly as I do so, but I will believe what God tells me. "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans for a future and a hope." Jer. 29:11 I will trust in that plan.
I will do what I can do to be the person God wants me to be, today, tomorrow and throughout 2017. No matter what happens, I can and will walk with Him through each day. I won't do it perfectly, but when I fail, I will ask for forgiveness, forgive myself, and do what I can do the next day.
This is what I can do. And I can wish and pray for the best of the new year for you, my friend. Not necessarily happy, but blessed and hopeful and doing what you can do.
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The Small Miracle of a New Year--Seven Things I can Do.