“So this is the new year, but I don’t feel any different …” – Three Things We Can Do For a Great Year

“So this is the new year, but I don’t feel any different …”
“The New Year” – Transatlanticism by Death Cab for Cutie

This is one of my favorite opening lines on any album from a band that I truly enjoy because it’s a sentiment that I have often felt. We’ve all experienced some great moment that we thought would forever change our lives. Whether it be after a new year, whether it be after an incredible experience, an amazing trip, we come down from the high of the experience realizing that the moment over-promised this “new life”.

After a while, we stop getting our hopes up. Some times, we even rain on the parades of others. If we’re not careful, we can get even more jaded (I believe that everyone’s a little jaded about something, yep even your sweet, tender-hearted grandmother). We stop making resolutions, we stop thinking that our lives can positively change or that we have any control of these changes. We may even start seeing life as an arbitrary string of events that happen … or don’t happen.

This is the last of my resolution/resolve for something better posts. But I find that when I practice these three things, that life is more fulfilling. Note that the circumstances may not be better, but the experience of living life is better.

1. Be a person who is continually seeking self-discovery. Many of us have traveled thousands of miles around the world but have yet to discover some of the hidden corners of our souls. The pursuit of self-awareness is a worthy endeavor and I believe when we seek who we are, we discover that we have created a god in our own image and uncover why we are often so disappointed in life. We expect to be pleased. When we remove ourselves as the “god of our lives” and submit our ives to the true and living God, we not only get rid of our idols we also discover more of our identity.

2. Be a person of prayer. As a Christian, I believe God not only created us and offers us redemption but desires to commune with us – He wants to know us and wants us to know Him.  It’s quite a humbling thought.  The spiritual disciplines (prayer, meditation, fasting, etc.) are essential in not only discovering our intended purpose but they posture our hearts in a position that is seeks to connect with a God who is listening.

3. Be a person of sacrifice. Practicing Jesus’ teaching of loving others as ourselves requires sacrifice. We find that we cannot expend the energy in guarding our self-interests and taking care of another at the same time – the two actions are unsustainable. The Christian faith teaches that we take care of those close and those far, to take care of our families and strangers and even our enemies. While we must be careful that we do neglect our self-care, it’s a beatiful thing to discover the virtues found in being generous. True generosity is found in the spirit of sacrifice and oddly enough, when we sacrifice, we not only find contentment, we also find a life-giving joy.

Happy new year to you – hope it’s a very life-giving and beautiful year.

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