Monday, January 4, 2010

right-side up resolutions

"Love your neighbor as yourself."
Matthew 22:39 (NIV)

Happy New Year, Friends!!! I wound up going M.I.A. unexpectedly. My laptop went out on me--literally. Somehow the screen broke and although my computer still worked, I wasn't able to see anything. Talk about frustrating! And then of course there was a whole 'nother round of colds and sickness over the holidays.

But, the good news is that we are all healthy and Santa (a.k.a. my generous husband) brought me a new laptop--and this one works!

The great news is that we finally received our Embassy date and will soon be traveling to bring our precious son HOME! God is good, all the time! Please continue to pray for our family as we finalize travel plans and prepare ourselves for the adventures ahead. THANK YOU!!!

As I began to think and pray about the year ahead, God gave me a new perspective on setting my New Year's resolutions. As I started to contemplate the things I wanted to start doing and some of the areas I'd like to change within myself, God showed me that my focus was on ME again. Ah, the naval-gazing syndrome.

I think that New Year's resolutions are great, don't get me wrong. We all want to grow and change, right? Setting goals and having direction for the year is critical if I want to accomplish anything. The key, however, is to make sure that I'm not placing all my focus on myself. And, that I'm not expecting to achieve my goals through my own strength.

While I thought about all of this, I was reminded of the words of Jesus, "Love your neighbor as yourself." Over the years I've learned how to love my neighbors. And, in this season I'm in, I'm learning to truly love myself. However, I've been missing the whole crux of Jesus' commandment. It's found in the word "as."

In my life, I've viewed that word like a one-way arrow, when I think it's really a two-way arrow. (Think mathematically for a minute, Friend.) I need to treat my neighbor the way I want to be treated and vice-versa. At least that's the way I learned it.

But, what if, "as" really isn't translated to "like?" Perhaps Jesus actually meant, "Love your neighbor [while] you love yourself" and vice-versa? It seems like a slight difference, but I think it's a difference that can transform lives. It's a difference that moves me out of acting out of obligation, guilt, striving and self-centeredness and moves me to a place of true servanthood.

If I'm putting others first in my actions and am loving them wholeheartedly, I am changed in the process. Yes, I want to get more exercise, eat healthier and spend more time in God's Word. But those are just the basics of what will make me a healthier and more well-grounded person. As (while?) I'm setting my goals this year, I'm choosing to make them "right-side up" resolutions.

"For even the Son of Man did not
come to be served, but to serve,
and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Mark 10:45 (NIV)

What can I do this year to bless and love my neighbors? What can I do this month? This week? Today? I'm so excited to see what God has in store for me, and for you, this year. I know it's going to be good. Really good.

Today I am choosing to take my gaze off myself and put it on the only One who really truly matters. In Him and through Him, I am LIVING A BLESSED LIFE! I'm praying you are as well. May you know His deep and unchanging love for you in a new way this year.

Happy, Happy New Year, Friend!


mommy24treasures said...

thank you for this nugget:)

Andrea said...

ah! That's good stuff! ;o) Thank you for sharing. Hey still praying for quick, easy, peaceful travel. ;o)

KT said...

SO good to get an update about you and your family. I was beginning to wonder how I could check in on you . . . our laptop crashed in the summer and we lost all info, email addresses etc. That can be so painful.
Can't wait to see how he uses you this year!!