Over the holidays, two devastating tragedies hit people I know and love. One fatal plane crash left my dear friend’s daughter mourning the loss of her best friend and another fatal car crash killed a beloved friend’s cousin, wife and daughter.
Just like that.
We get these “wake up calls” often: No one knows how long life on this earth will be. It’s mind numbing, terrifying, and quite frankly something we don’t like to dwell on, right?
We keep on going and doing and waking up every day with our to do lists and our activities and often stumble through the day simply pushing on through. I have many of those days too. That’s just life: We all have ongoing responsibilities we must tend to and as we gallop off into the madness each and every day, we do our best to embrace the good, give what we can, and be grateful.
I’m all for that.
With the New Year, comes new goals for many. New resolutions to be better, feel better, live better.
I’m all for that too.
I think that should actually be everyone’s life motto, really.
Be Better. Feel Better. Live Better.
Done and done and done.
Or I should say Gonna do and gonna do and gonna do.
Most people set off the New Year with great plans, and grand expectations.
I say, good for YOU!
I’m not one of them.
I’m an all year round kinda girl. I’m not good with pressure, and well- New Year’s Resolutions screams PRESSURE to me- so I ease into the year with reflection and baby steps back into the LBTH. (Life Before The Holidays). I like to think more about the past year- what I am proud I accomplished and look for the marks that I missed. You can learn a lot from both. And there is always more we could have done and more we can aim to do.
Then there are things I believe we can all strive for every year. Resolutions that may help us be better people, feel better about ourselves and the world we live in, and ultimately help us to live a better life full of meaning and purpose and even hope.
I have concluded in my initial reflection, that the challenges I’m looking into for 2017, may in fact be the goals we can all embrace.
I think we could all explore six general resolutions to Be Better-Feel Better-Live Better. They may seem basic and ordinary- but when practiced, I think they become complex and extraordinary. Let’s find out for ourselves, okay?
HERE ARE SIX WAYS YOU CAN BE BETTER, FEEL BETTER, AND LIVE BETTER…
- Be good to yourself.
This may seem like it should come with a smiley face key chain, but I’m serious when I say this. Take it to HEART. Have you checked your inner voice lately? How do you talk to yourself? How do you TREAT yourself? I’m going to bet that you are often critical, demanding, and sometimes even cruel. How much do you even like yourself? Do you appreciate you? Do you look in the mirror and say to yourself, “I love you, no matter what.”?
If you don’t love yourself, accept yourself, and value who you are- flaws and failings too, then your road to happiness will be entirely conditional.
That’s no way to travel. Trust me, I know.
- Claim your purpose.
I don’t mean go find it. At this very moment, you are living a life of purpose! What you are doing right now- how you are living already HAS purpose. I think we get so swept up in the day to day busyness, we forget that all we do- these tasks, this work, our roles in all our lives have purpose.
Don’t forget that what you are doing is important, valuable, and is making a difference in someone’s life. If we don’t take the time to recognize and embrace what we are doing as valuable and has purpose, then we won’t be empowered and strengthened to carry out our roles with intention and fulfillment.
The greatest failure is the loss of fulfillment. We lose fulfillment when we lose purpose. We lose purpose simply because we don’t recognize it. Claim your purpose- and fulfillment always follows.
- Give a little.
Give a little forgiveness. Give a little attention. Give a little money. Give a little encouragement. Give a little flexibility. Give a little credit. Give a little time. Give a little sacrifice. Give a little service. Give a little kindness. Give a little help. Give a little acknowledgement. Give a little effort. Give a little love. Give a little patience. Give a little gratitude. Give a little support…
To those in need.
- Love someone you don’t like.
Mama say what? Okay, hear me out. I believe any kind of love is sacrificial. These days there’s a whole lot of hate going around and it’s not easy to stretch our arms around those who are hurtful or those who don’t deserve our love or those who make us cringe or especially those who fire us up with anger. This is where The Golden Rule applies. “Love your neighbor as yourself”. Treat people the way you want to be treated no matter how they treat you. It’s that simple, really. But oh, it’s so, so hard. As it seems hate is a rampant wildfire these days and we can keep it from spreading with some splattering of love. How about you water down those blazing fires with a good dose of acceptance, of understanding or even forgiveness. Dare to be the one who shines light in a dark world. Be bold, yes. Speak truth, yes. Fight for everything and anything you are passionate about- But do it with RESPECT- always.
- Do something hard.
We can all probably agree that the first four I have listed are already hard.
But this resolution will challenge you to step into your fear and come out courageous.
Every one of us has a daunting or possibly haunting ‘thing’ we feel compelled to do, but we are too afraid to go there. This may be as simple as picking up the phone and calling a family member you cut ties with years ago. (Simple? Not really.) It may be deciding to try with everything you’ve got to salvage a withering marriage. Perhaps you have always been afraid of ‘putting yourself out there’ in a profession you dream to pursue. It even might be asking for help, when you’ve been suffering for too long without it- whether that be looking into rehab, seeking counseling, or making that doctor appointment to look into a possible diagnosis. Do you need to finally approach your boss about your overwhelming job responsibilities? Heck, this hard thing could be signing up for an exercise class when you haven’t moved in years.
We do hard things every day don’t we? But I think most of us remain in our safe place, our comfort zones- I know I do. This hard thing is a bit different.
I think you already know what hard thing you need to do…
- Hold onto hope.
There’s a lot of hopelessness going around, isn’t there? I believe hopelessness stems from two things: Fear and lack of faith. Fear of the unknown, fear of people we don’t trust, fear of things out of our control, fear of losing our own safety, our rights, our freedoms. Fear of danger and evil and hate’s wildfire. All that fear often steals our faith in believing that somehow goodness will prevail and light will rise victorious in this darkening world. Sometimes, it’s hard to believe there is even a God who is present in this mess.
Don’t let fear steal your faith.
I believe in a God who rules over the universe and He has already written the story of our world’s beginning and our world’s end. This undoubtedly difficult season is but a mere chapter in the book, and I hear the ending is GLORIOUS. Therein lies my hope.
There is a large landscape in which our world’s volatile current conditions are placed. It’s hard to understand the big picture when we are feeling trapped in the rubble of today’s wreckage. Dig deep to discover a God who is trustworthy to His Truth. Reach for hope in believing this is all part of God’s master plan. It isn’t easy when we witness evil spread its venom, but living in this world has never been easy since the serpent slithered in.
When the battle rages between fear and faith- fight for faith.
Here’s to a New Year, friends.
Let’s all be better, feel better, and live better.
Linking up with Coffee For Your Heart.