Friday, December 29, 2006

Thoughts on the New Year

I will not be around a computer on New Year's Eve or Day so I'll do a New Year's post early.

I was thinking earlier about my reaction to the new year this year as opposed to last year. At the end of last year, I was just emotionally tired to sum it up. I was looking forward to the new year with anticipation for an emotional break after a trying semester. I was finally able to leave a job that had worn on me for 6 months, there were some scary health problems with family, school had been rough, I had a packed schedule and little time with my husband and I had just become a counselor for the first time and realized how terrible this world can be.

This year is different. I am looking forward to the year to come instead of being grateful that the year is over. I wondered why it is so different though. This year has been emotionally trying too, or at least had the potential to be. So why have I been different in 2006 from 2005?

I think it is because of what God has shown me in the last year. I am not sure how He taught me but I know it is not things I could have come up on my own.

Jordan's Lessons from 2006
  1. God is faithful and His faithfulness does not need to be according to my time table to work. There have been plenty of examples that, now looking back, make me smile. My job, my internship and hour requirement, my husband's job(s) now and future...all were things I had to (or have to) wait on but God was faithful in all. I still don't sit by easily but at least now I know that I should.
  2. Joy is different than happiness- Happiness is circumstantial whereas joy is in all times and circumstances and is of God. See the post from Dec. 28 and that explains it a little more.
  3. Acting positive can eventually lead into actually being positive. In the spring I heard a speaker talking to youth workers in the church. He reminded us that our attitudes teach the youth more than our lessons do. So, on Sunday mornings I began making an effort to respond to "how are you doing?" with "great, (reason inserted)" rather than "tired" or "hard week." Additionally, I found myself being around a few people who had pretty negative dispositions and complained a lot. Around some of them, I tried to be positive just to spite them and others I wanted to be an example of not complaining. It also made me aware of how much I did complain. Through consciously making these changes, I realized that my attitude was changing when I was not trying. I now try and look toward the brighter side first, which is a good change. I think Christians of all people should represent the joy of the Lord. If not, what makes us different than anyone else in appearance.
  4. God cares for His children and I think likes to bless us as a parent does His child. There were a lot of times this year where "out of the blue" a surprise happened and the only response could be to thank God. Extra scholarships, special friends, schedule and responsibility changes, husband's promotion, randomly paid for dinner...they were all things we needed but didn't know it and they just made me smile. I think God likes to make us smile. I wonder if He waits excitedly for us to "open the box" and see the surprise. That is the epitome of a relational God.

I have 2007 to look towards with excitement. No clue what it will bring but I can reread lesson #1 and know that God will take care of us, look at #2 and know that no matter what the year brings that I can still be full of joy, see #3 and know my attitude should reflect that joy and remember #4 and look forward to the smiles shared between God and me.

Happy New Year!

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