It’s that time of year again! All over Facebook, I see people posting about how 2014 is going to be the best year yet for their lives. Out with the old, in with the new. It’s time to make those New Year’s resolutions! I, historically, have not made resolutions. There’s something about the pressure of SAYING I’m going to lose weight, become more organized, save more money, etc. that weirds me out. Maybe it’s just because I’m weird, I don’t know. I need more than a “general” statement like, “This year, I will lose 30 lbs.” It’s got to be broken down for me, week by week, month by month and so on. And then, I get all obsessive about it and think only about that one thing while the rest of the world swirls in chaos around me. I don’t have the time or energy for that! I mean, yes, I DO need to lose 30 lbs (okay, well maybe 40) and I fully intend on placing my personal well-being and health back on the list of priorities this year. Also, I DO plan on systematically organizing my house, room by room this year. I have a lot of clutter to get rid of. These are more like ongoing resolutions for me. These are goals I keep logged in my head that I’m always working on. I don’t normally say these things aloud though. I wouldn’t want anyone to try to hold me to it! Hahaha! Hey, I’m being honest! There’s nothing more annoying than my husband kindly “reminding” me of my resolution while I’m eating a piece of triple chocolate cake…
But, this year, I want to make a resolution that I fully intend on becoming obsessive about and one that I truly desire to consume my mind. And this year, I’m going to put it out there for all to see. Ok…here it goes…
In 2014, I will show more LOVE and extend more GRACE than I ever have in my life to this point. What will that look like in my life?
When my kids behave in a way that is less than desirable to me, instead of freaking out on them like a madwoman, I will gently correct them and wrap my arms of love around them. Lord knows, I’ve messed up in my life and have been extended love and mercy from Jesus. He doesn’t beat me up about my mistakes. Why should I be so harsh with my kids? The Bible says, “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required” (Luke 12:48) And then, there’s this verse from Ephesians 6:4, “And you, fathers (mothers too), do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”
When my husband doesn’t “measure up” to my expectations of him (which he normally isn’t even aware of), instead of pouting and giving him the silent treatment, I will show him love and extend grace to him. Instead of thinking only of myself and what I want from him, I will focus on meeting his needs and giving of myself to him in a more selfless manner. When Jesus was being tortured, beaten and crucified for MY sins, for my sickness and disease, He was thinking only of me, not Himself. He wasn’t concerned with His own comfort and desires. So for heaven’s sake, can’t I lay my self-centered point of view aside every once in a while and show my husband the love and attention that I would like to receive? Plus, it’s the Word, ladies! “ Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.” Ephesians 5:21-24, The Message
When my family or friends disappoint me, not follow through on what they said they would do, cancel plans on me, talk about me behind my back, hurt my feelings or criticize me, I will not retaliate. I will NOT live by the “eye for an eye” rule. I will show them love and grace. I will give them the benefit of the doubt. I will turn the other cheek. I will keep my mouth shut when I want to say something back. When I feel left out or slighted, I will remember how Jesus was alone on the cross, how He had to bear that day by Himself. Isaiah 53:7 says, “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.”
This is just a small sampling of the people who cross my path in life. How about the people on the street, at the mall, at the grocery store? Or how about those whose way of life I don’t agree with? What about those who are different than me in every way? I resolve to show them the love of God. I may be inconvenienced at times and I know I will have to swallow my pride a whole lot, but His love is in me and I must let it out.
Here are some verses to help encourage me, maybe they’ll encourage you to show love, too!
“ But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” I John 3:17
“And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” Ephesians 5:2
Jesus even said it Himself as recorded in John 15:12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
And finally, take a moment to read I Corinthians 13.
So, all you Facebook peeps, I join you. I join you in making a declaration that 2014 WILL indeed be the best year yet!