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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Pre-resolutions

I know it isn't 2017 yet, but I already know what I am going to focus on next year. I want to be a part of the solution. What that will look like, I'm not sure, but I do know that with the future being presented in such a terrifying way, I will not simply sit and let it come how it may. Jesus didn't die on the cross for me to sit and let life pass me by. No, I will stand and devote my every single day to being a light to those around me.

I want to seek after God with such fervor that I can't help but act on what He leads me to do. This year, I will be at the ready for whatever God would put on my heart. Each day is a miracle in itself, and I want to treat it as such.

This world is broken. We are broken. People are scared. People are angry. People are lashing out. People are being people. Is that wrong? Not really. It's all about how you respond. Are you going to make things worse because you're scared and angry, or are you stick your chin up and say, "My turn!"

I want to go out there and make a difference. I want to make one person's life better through something as simple as a smile. I want to encourage someone through the way I treat them, not matter how my life is going.

Life is not about me. It's about you.

Now, reader, read that statement as yourself. Do you see how this works? Life is about other people, always. Life is meant to be selfless and sacrificial.

Life is hard, man. I don't always like putting other people first and frequent pity parties for myself. In the last month alone, I have griped and complained and even cried countless times because something didn't go my way or someone wronged me in some fashion.

But I need to give myself a good slap in the face and keep walking. Because life isn't really about me. Take time to make sure you're healthy and put together, but let your true focus be on others. It's a rough balance, and even though I think I'm better at it from the beginning of college, I still don't have it down.

(Do we ever?)

Romans 12 has always been my favorite chapter in the entire Bible. Lately, a certain passage has completely rocked me to my core, wrenching everything I thought, or wished, to be true away and bringing something new to light.

"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord." (Romans 12:14-20)

First of all, each sentence will take more than three years apiece to make some decent headway on at the very least, let alone all at once. Second, this world doesn't like this sort of mindset anymore for themselves, just from other people. Third, this hurts. My human response is to lash out in tearful anger when someone wrongs me, kicking and screaming and throwing a fit over why they are wrong and I am justified.

Where does that get me? It only burns the bridge more. Almost everything is fixable, salvageable, until I get involved and finish the damage. There are so many singed bridges that I want to get involved with...yet I know that I will only make it worse, even if I feel I am justified in my response. Only through the grace of God can it be mended.

This year, I want to embody Romans 12, especially these seven verses. Because if I act in such a selfless manner, I can be a part of the solution instead of the problem. And that is all I want for Christmas, for Valentine's Day, for my birthday, for every single day of every single year. I want to be a part of the solution.

Jesus, be the center of my everything. Light up my life; be my only explanation for my actions. Be my focus. Be in me so strongly that I cannot help but act and speak and love as you do. Dear Heavenly Father, give me your grace and your peace for every day that you allow me to walk this earth.