The morning of December 26th, I asked my kids what they wanted to do. “Go shopping!” was the universal answer.
I’m sorry, what? Do you SEE all the toys literally at your feet amongst the clutter of paper and boxes? You can’t play with these for even a DAY before asking for more?
We see the ridiculousness of this mentality so easily in our kids, but how often do we see it in ourselves?
As the New Year dawns, we are full of two things: resolutions and clutter. Accomplish these, throw away that. Acquire this body, get rid of these old things. Learn this new skill, stop doing that. Pursue and purge.
And according to most magazine covers, this effort will involve a shopping trip (for organizers now!), a gym membership, and a class of some sort.
What if instead we just started playing with all the toys at our feet?
Yes, the boxes and wrapping paper need to be recycled, and if something is broken in our lives or closets, it either needs to be fixed or thrown away. We can start with that. But instead of looking at everything we own and are as being inadequate, why don’t we just start USING what we have?
You have a perfect body already. You just need to USE it, and it will reveal itself. You’ve already been given the great advice on how to solve your problem- just take it.. Your shelves are filled with life-changing wisdom and entertainment in the form of books you’ve already bought, just finally read them. Start with the Bible.
But what if, after we’ve inventoried our house, our bodies, and our lives, we realize we still don’t have enough to get us started? Stop and Ask. Don’t go out and shop.
That network of love and support we crave and so often ignore is also supposed to be used, and within it is all the help and advice and abundance we need- we just need to pay attention to it, and use it. When I didn’t know what books to read this year, I asked my Facebook friends. Since I don’t have any of them, I’ll ask my local library, who will give them to me for free. That tool you need to complete your task? One of your friends has it and considers it clutter.
But more than anything else, we absolutely cannot, must not cut ourselves off this year from the greatest resource we have and are ignoring: our God. Just look at the promises of abundance so many of us (myself included!) walk away from, every year:
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5)
“Every good and perfect gift is from above.” (James 1:17)
“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” (2 Peter 1:2)
“If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us- whatever we ask- we know that we have what we asked of him.” (1 John 5:14)
We cannot spend another year walking away from grace, peace, wisdom, and “anything (good) we ask for” while spending our time, energy, and money trying to acquire it on our own, only to throw it away. Every gift we need is right in front of us, and being offered to us- let’s just recognize it, appreciate it, and use it!
Knowing THAT makes it a guaranteed Happy New Year!
- Walk around your house, and inventory what hidden blessings there. What do you already have that you just need to use?
- Who in your life do you need to simply pay more attention to? Make a list and start today.
- What do you already KNOW you need to be doing to have the life you were meant to have? Don’t go beyond the obvious.
- What are your stumbling blocks? Who do you know that can give you advice, guidance, and support on them?
- Find your Bible. Decide today, if you haven’t already, to start using it as a primary resource for everything you need. If you don’t know how to start reading it, ask, follow a lectionary study, or, at the least, you can follow my quick guide:
- For learning the core of the Christian message, read the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John)
- For quick, handy advice: James and Proverbs
- Other easy, digestible books: Philippians, I and II Corinthians.
I wish all of us a year in which we recognize what amazing gifts we have at our fingertips, and use them to create Love, Peace, and Joy in ourselves and in our world.