“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”
~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce
“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering ‘it will be happier’…”
~ Alfred Tennyson
“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something. So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life. Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”
These past few days I’ve been thinking about 2013. Like most of you, some days were better than others. Some days were so bright they seemed surreal. Some days were so bleak that the only help for them was to go to sleep and wait for another day.
Here are a few things I learned or thought about in 2013:
* Most people are either looking forward to something or remembering something. Don’t waste your life doing this. Fall in love with everyday moments. Happiness lies within appreciation. Love the moments of a child’s smile, the catch of the light, the song of a bird.
*Although God is in your past and in your future, He wants to visit with you now, today, this very moment. Slow down. Take the time to listen. Invite Him in.
* Yes, there are a lot of things to be done and accomplished, but sitting with Jesus early in the morning is important, vital, water to your thirsty soul. Take a deep breath and set apart the time. Read, meditate, praise, whatever–just be. After a while this becomes the most important part of your day. Journal everything that comes out of this. Go deep. P.S. Jesus is really good about bending time. You’ll get more accomplished in your day if you make time for Him.
* Prayer works. Be bold. Be real. “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” (Jeremiah 33:3, KJV) Take this verse seriously and see what happens. Prepare to be blown away.
* “Be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21, KJV) This still works. It’s a very powerful weapon. Employ it.
* Look for opportunities to make people smile. You can do more than you think. Little things are not so little.
* Talking negative about other people only puts poison into your own soul. Bless them and release them to God. Often you are looking at the small story. There is always the larger story, God’s story, behind the scenes.
* Don’t be a person who just survives your life. This is hard, I admit. As I mentioned before, fall in love with moments.
* Be awake to your pain. It matters.
* We’re here to learn how to love. We’ll only truly live / love if we’re fully alive in Jesus.
* The name of God–I AM–is a verb, not a noun. He is always moving, very present, very real.
* More of God is always available. He reveals secrets if you have ears to hear and eyes to see.
* Jesus gets your jokes.
* Pray for friends who are real. Be open. Cherish them when they come.
* If you love writing, don’t stop. Don’t ever, ever stop. Trust yourself when what you wrote scares you. If it made you feel, it will make your reader feel. This gives the writing true power to do something. People don’t have any use for writing that isn’t honest.
There were a lot of other things I thought about, of course. But there’s hardly room for all of them here. What you just read were just whispers, snippets from me. Maybe they mattered to you and maybe they didn’t. And that’s okay.
If I could sum it all up I guess I’d say this–Be brave. Be real. Life is short. Lean into Jesus. Follow after Him hard. There’s more. There’s so much more to come. For you. For me. And love . . . love like an ocean is waiting.
Some moments from 2013 that made me smile:
This birthday party.
This silly Great Dane, Nessie.
Taking my daughter to the farm in Ohio where I spent some of my happiest days as a child.
This moment with my Uncle Ralph.
And especially this moment with my dad.
What were some of the moments that you treasure from 2013?