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Summary: In this new year, we need to focus on: 1. Personal development. 2. Building relationships. 3. A life of service.

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One of the positive effects of the recent tragedy our country experienced is that people appear to be shifting their priorities. People are centering their lives more on home and family rather than jobs and careers. We are looking again at the value of relationships, and even our relationship with God. We are thinking more about the big picture. Many are spending more time with their loved ones, according to a recent Gallup poll. There is hope that we are becoming less materialistic an self-absorbed. It is one of the good things that has come out of a very bad situation.

It is always interesting to hear what people are making resolutions about as the new year begins. Ann Landers has made some good suggestions in her column. She writes, “Call up a forgotten friend. Drop an old grudge, and replace it with some pleasant memories. . . . Free yourself of envy. . . . Resolve to stop magnifying small problems and shooting from the lip. . . . Lighten up. When you feel like blowing your top, ask yourself, ‘Will it matter in a week from today?’ Be optimistic. . . . Read something uplifting. Deep-six the trash. . . . Walk tall, and smile more. . . . Don’t be afraid to say, ‘I love you.’”

Some other resolutions I read are a little less serious. “I have resolved not to do drugs anymore, because I get the same effect just standing up really fast.” “I have resolved to live in my own little world, because at least they know me here.” “I have resolved to stay married, because it is so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.” “I have resolved to not make any resolutions, because nobody is perfect. I’m a nobody, therefore I’m perfect.”

I even ran across a place on the Internet where you can make your new year’s resolutions online, and they will email you a monthly reminder of what your resolutions were — as if anybody wanted to know after the first month. It is called HiAspire.com. But what I found interesting was seeing what resolutions people were making for 2002. Not surprisingly, exercise and dieting toped the list. Also near the top were things like becoming a better person and a better spouse. But the one that caught my attention was the one that said, “Find Dreams.” People have dreams and they want to live them out. You might interpret that as wanting to live in a fantasy world, but I believe people have real dreams and it is important to reach for them. The problem is that dreams don’t just happen — you make them happen — and it takes work and sacrifice.

How can we move beyond just making resolutions and begin creating solutions for our lives? We do it by working on the core issues of our lives instead of just making cosmetic changes. We have to go to beyond the symptoms to the source of our problems. Losing weight may only be a symptom of the core issue of a lack of self-control in your life — around which there may be many other symptoms. Perhaps you are using food to sedate yourself. Controlling your drinking may only be a symptom of the fact that you are looking for something to deaden the pain and disappointment in your life, instead of finding your comfort and strength in God. Controlling your anger may only be a symptom of a deeper need you have to control life and the people in it with your rage. We focus on the core issues rather than the presenting problem.


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Ray Pickett

commented on Dec 8, 2009

The story behind the hymn "Amazing Grace" - insightful and inspiring.

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