On New Year's Eve, I wrote down three thoughts for 2012: Keep it simple. Keep it spiritual. Let God lead.
So, today the year began, and it didn't seem much like a holiday. Gene spent most of the day in bed with a cold or more, and Bridget still can't keep much food down. (I think it's hairballs.) I thought we would have Communion to start the new year at church; instead, we had a guest speaker so the preacher could travel with his family. (The guest did a superb job.) And the person who was supposed to do special music could not sing today.
I really struggled not to overeat and overchew. Gene being sick in bed didn't help. I did cook us a meal of ham, black-eyed peas, salad and crescent rolls. I knew he didn't have much appetite or taste, but eating black-eyed peas is a tradition for us. Here's to a healthy and prosperous 2012.
More vital to the success of the year, however, will be what I finally started tonight. I bought my own copy of Jesus Calling, a daily devotional book Mom received after Daddy died. "Come to me with a teachable spirit, eager to be changed." That's how it started today, with reference to one of my favorite Scriptures, Jeremiah 29:11. The devotionals are designed to help the reader be open to and experience God's presence.
I also started a daily devotional prayer journal I received for Christmas. The two books are not related, but if the first day is an indication, they will complement and enhance each other. The Scripture reference there was The Message version of "Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me." And it also led me to re-examine Psalm 139:23-24 -- "Search me, oh God, and know my heart ... and lead me in the way everlasting."
I also want to share this, from Debbie Hazen Bennett, a cousin of my friend Susan. I was just going to pass along excerpts, but it is so real and resonant as written that I will not change anything. So, with this, just thank You, God, for another day to live and learn to serve You in grace and love.
12 things that I wish I had known at 25 ~ Or more accurately, 12 things that, had I put them into action, would have made my life a lot easier. Some are bits of advice that wisdom figures have told me and took years to sink in. Others are the result of some hard knocks. A few are insights from the great spiritual masters that I've adapted for my own life. Maybe a few will help someone you know who's 25. Maybe one or two will help you.
1. First up: Stop worrying so much! It's useless. (I.e. Jesus was right.)
2. Being a saint means being yourself. Stop trying to be someone else and just be your best self. Saves you heartache.
3. There's no right way to pray, any more than there's a right way to be a friend. What's "best" is what works best for you.
4. Remember three things and save yourself lots of unneeded heartache: You're not God. This ain't heaven. Don't act like a jerk.
5. Your deepest, most heartfelt desires are God's desires for you. And vice versa. Listen. And follow them.
6. Within you is the idea of your best self. Act as if you were that person and you will become that person, with God's grace.
7. Don't worry too much about the worst that can happen. Even if it happens, God is with you, and you can handle it. Really.
8. You can't force people to approve of you, agree with you, be impressed with you, love you or even like you. Stop trying.
9. When we compare, we are usually imagining someone else's life falsely. So our real-life loses out. I.e. Compare and despair.
10. Even when you finally realized the right thing, or the Christian thing, to do, it can still be hard to do. Do it anyway.
11. Seven things to say frequently: I love you. Thank you. Thank you, God. Forgive me. I'm so happy for you! Why not? Yes.
12. Peace and joy come after asking God to free you -- from anything that keeps you from being loving and compassionate.