Monday, December 31, 2012

And the Moral of the Story is....2012

Last year on New Year's Eve, I wrote a blog post titled, "And the Moral of the Story is...".  In it, I summarized some of the things God had been teaching (or trying to teach) me in 2011.  It was one of my most read and most enjoyed posts by my readers last year, not to mention one of my favorite to write, so I thought I'd do it again for 2012.

People make a big deal about setting New Year's resolutions.  Even if people don't formally sit down and write them out, I think everyone has at least a thought or two about the things they would like to see happen in the next year.

In my 33 years of existence, though, I've come to realize New Year's resolutions often have very little effect on how the year turns out.  Most resolutions are forgotten before the first week of the new year is over and even the most persistent resolutions are given up on before January comes to a close.

So this year, instead of making resolutions for the future, I encourage us all to look back on the things we have learned this year, about ourselves, about each other and most importantly, about God.  Make your resolution be to remember the lessons of 2012 all throughout 2013.  So, here is my list:

Things God has taught me in 2012

1.  Loving someone has very little effect unless you show it.  And if you actually care about loving them, you need to show it in a way that makes them feel loved.  Otherwise, the love you are showing is just about assuaging your own guilt or meeting some obligation.

2.  Short term mission trips are more about supporting the missionaries that are there full time and about pushing the limits of and strengthening your faith and devotion in God than they are about helping the native people.

3.  It's okay to think positively all the time.  You aren't deluding yourself.  It will bring you joy.

4.  A lie is a lie is a lie is a lie.  It doesn't matter who says it or for what purpose, a lie is a lie and like all things Satan endorses, it brings death.  Even if you convince yourself that lying is the right thing to do, it is still a lie and you are not being obedient to God.

5.  Proverbs 22:24 is true!  "Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered".  The greatest relational peace I've ever felt was letting go of someone easily angered.

6.  It is a mark of Christian maturity to confront your problems head on and talk through your issues with another, because it shows that you place peace above your own pride.  Almost like an absolute rule this year, the people I had to force to sit down and talk through an issue with proved to be far more immature than I imagined and the people that were willing and eager to resolve our difficulties proved to be some of the most mature people I know.

7.  I HAVE to spend quality time with God every day.  If I go a few days without that time, I begin to become angry, bitter, and all sorts of hateful thoughts fill my mind.

8.  Satan is real.  Demons are lying in wait, ready to pounce on any vulnerable soul.  If it were anything else that was attacking people, we would tell each other and remind each other often to stay safe.  We need to do the same when it comes to Spiritual Warfare!

9.  There is no one that cannot be redeemed by Christ.  Don't give up on anyone.

10.  Trust your instincts.  You know when there is something wrong, whether you know what it is or not.  That instinct is a gift from God.

11.  People who vehemently argue against you for whatever reason do it more to convince themselves that their ideas are right than because they actually think they know better than you.  If you are secure in your point of view, there is little reason to argue it.

Things God is still trying to teach me

1.  I'm not always the cause of the problem.  Other people are just as screwed up as I am.

2.  There are three traits that almost always ensure success:  being close to Christ, focus and discipline.  Being close to Christ ensures you are doing the right things for the right reasons.  Focus allows you to put all your attention and energy into whatever you are doing.  Discipline makes sure it gets done.

3.  Trust God to provide.  He always does.

4.  God can't steer the cart unless you give up the reigns.  A cart can't have two drivers without crashing.

5.  Maturity as a Christian has little to do with the amount of time you've been one.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that it is the least contributing factor.

6.  It's important to be a mentor and to have a mentor (or many).  It is seriously inefficient if each individual person has to figure out everything for themselves.

7.  Trust God.  He has a plan.

8.  Respect yourself as if you are a daughter or son of the King, because you are.

9.  It's okay to accept help.  Usually it isn't help they offer as much as it is love.

10.  There is no need to chase after people.  They know where you are.  If they are worth the effort, they'll come to you just as often as you come to them.

These are my lessons, but I hope they were of use to you.  Hopefully, God can help these to trigger memories of lessons you learned this year.  Have a happy and safe celebration tonight and I wish all my readers the best of God's blessings and grace in the new year!

To read 2011's list of lessons, click here

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