This past Sunday afternoon I was in a dark and cold building sweeping up what looked like dust bunnies that had been hit by an enlarger ray in a sci-fi movie. I did this for nearly two hours and the place was still a mess after I was done. I was wearing Carhartts, long underwear and rubberized work gloves (that still somehow don’t keep my hands from turning black). The mask I had to wear over my mouth and nose was uncomfortable and made it hard to breath. Not exactly how someone wants to spend their day off…yet…for some reason I found myself smiling.
It has been a rough year for a variety of reasons, not the least of which has been the fire that consumed our business in November. As you can see from above, the cleanup process has been messy, slow and time consuming. The gigantic dust bunnies are the insulation that fell when the ceiling came down. It covered everything in the back half of the shop, things like burned up cars, melted electronics, ruined tools and tons of broken glass. There is no electricity so the only light comes from our headlamps and the meager sunlight that comes through the few windows that are not boarded up. It is a dark and cold place (another reminder that I want no part of Hell). Despite all of the gloom, my heart was still warm that afternoon and at times I even found myself singing the songs I had heard at church that morning.
These are the final days of 2014 and my mind was on the past twelve months. If I had to gauge the worth of our past year by the world’s standards I may have a right to feel sorry for myself and complain (the fire, canceled family vacations, kidney stones, surgery, etc.).
Praise God, I don’t care what the world’s opinion is. I only desire to gauge my success through the eyes of God. He has blessed me with so much in 2014: watching our church family grow and desire more of God, an opportunity to serve alongside brothers and sisters in Kentucky, seeing a friend give her life to Jesus, being provided more opportunities to share my faith, seeing the love of Christ grow in my children, watching my husband handle difficult situations with godly grace and strength, and so much more. Wow, what an awesome year!
Don’t worry, I’m not always this cheerful, I have to get my attitude adjusted frequently. At times my perspective gets skewed and I can feel the pity party starting. There are times I have been in the same burned out shop hauling garbage and I had no desire to sing or smile. I have learned it’s those times that I need a good slap of truth to get my head back on straight. One of my favorites is the same one the Pastor used on Sunday morning –
Romans 12:1-2, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
And if you start Romans 12, you might as well just keep on reading, because the whole chapter is great. Verses 9-21 are about the marks of a True Christian. Verse 11, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” (NIV). I love that verse, it sums up how we should take on every New Year (heck, every new day)!
How has your past twelve months been? Have you seen growth towards God in your life? Have you been working towards what pleases Him or yourself? Are you closer to Jesus now then on January 1, 2014, do you know him better? That is how each and every year must be gauged. If you aren’t sure or if you haven’t experienced growth towards Christ, this is the perfect time to start!
If you are tired of the same old resolutions of weight loss, exercise and home organization (yep, I’m reading your mind) then make a change toward eternal betterment. Let 2015 be the year that you put yourself aside and choose to please Jesus instead. Then no matter what occurs in the next twelve months, whether it’s health problems, parenting issues or losing your job, if you truly strive to serve and glorify God you will have had the best year yet. It’s time to go for it and have a truly Happy New Year!