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Simplicity, Courage & Compassion – Words for the New Year

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As the New Year gets underway, there are a few things that have been on my heart. Three of them, in fact, keep coming back to me. The first is the need, the real need to simplify. To simplify things in my life, in my house, and in my heart. Just to simplify. In my home, that translates to more and continued organization. In my heart, it means to consistently get at the kernel of what is most important in my hours, my days, my weeks; all of which flow into a natural simplicity in life.

The second thing on my heart is to live this year with courage. Courage to look beyond, to see the good in the midst of the rubble; not giving way to fear or letting fear steal my joy. No one knows what tomorrow holds, but there is abundant joy today and there is joy for tomorrow, as well. Live courageously. Writing this feels a bit like playing Russian Roulette, like throwing down the gauntlet. I know there are and will undoubtedly be challenges ahead. It’s all part of the natural ebb and flow of life. But the reality is that if I’m trusting fully in the God, who is all I know Him to be and so much more, my courage comes from knowing Him and the knowledge that He is always faithful. I’ll never leave you or forsake you, He says over and over again. Need to keep stepping out in courage.

The third thing on my mind is to live compassionately. To look for ways to be the hands and feet of Jesus, to try to bring joy to other people’s lives. Sometimes I feel like I have my hands tied, like I’m hindered because of the many needs in our family, which I know is absurd. There is so much joy in my calling. And I’m grateful for the life with which God has blessed me. Listening to friends who have very clear calls from God, I can hear their excitement. It’s all very adventurous. In those moments, it’s easy to feel like I’m spinning my wheels, doing a lot of tending. But the reality is that God has called me to tend – compassionately. And to be compassionate towards people He brings in my path – and I can do that, through Him. I can be compassionate. I can also be more compassionate towards myself. Sometimes, I think it’s easy to be the hardest on yourself. I don’t want to do that. I want to be kinder and gentler to myself, more accepting of who I am. If God loves me and accepts me, than I surely can show myself the same grace.

All three of these hinge on keeping God centered in my heart and my life. Keeping everything centered on Him is essential. Out of that will flow the necessary vision to recognize what’s most important. Out of that will come the ability to be courageous, despite what’s going on around me. Out of that will come the ability to be compassionate, to have my eyes opened to those around me, and also give me the words to say to bless them in some way, to show His grace.

Just some thoughts for my New Year. What thoughts are you bringing into yours?

May you celebrate the new beginning each day brings in 2011.

“The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.”
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                                                Lamentations 3:22-23 (NASB)

Happy New Year!

Photos courtesy of Photoxpress