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Safe Place with Ruth Graham

Safe Place with Ruth Graham

2013

Another year.

But what did I do with the last one?

Will this one be as difficult? Am I destined to be on this treadmill forever?

Everyone is in a festive mood. But me. They are excited about a new year…I am depressed. Am I to repeat the past? How do I truly begin again?

So many drink to forget. Overeat. Shop. View porn. Escape. Or get angry at the ones they are supposed to love. For many it is a difficult time of year.

I have never put much stock in New Years. December to January is like February to March but a lot more hype. What’s the big deal? A new beginning.

Really? Am I really a different person at 12:01 PM on January 1st as I was at 11:59 on December 31st. Not likely.

But I like to think I can turn a new page. Start anew.

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We all have things we which we could undo. Forget. Decisions we could make differently. We may have covered them over with busyness and denial. But they haunt us in our quiet, private moments. How could we have been so stupid? What got into us?

We beat ourselves up. Or at least I do. That’s fruitless.

What I have decided to do this New Years is to invite God into the process. My own resolutions are mainly about me – what I will do. How I will try to reform. How I will form new habits. But that is so egocentric. That’s all about me.

One thing God has tried to get into my head this year is that is’s not about me. If it is, that’s idolatry! Yikes!

No, I don’t bow to a little statue. Or burn incense to a little god. No. But don’t I? When my first thought is about me? When everything is about me? How I feel? How others are treating me?

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Let me give you a personal illustration:

I recently went to a large conference. I was not the speaker. I was an attendee. It was a great conference. I was by myself. Everyone else was part of a church staff. I sat by myself. I inroduced myself to those seated near me. I asked them questions about their ministry. They didn’t ask me about mine. In my mind I thought, “If they only knew who they were sitting near…” (arrogance!) At lunch time I asked an usher to introduce me to the two main speakers. I just knew they would be delighted to meet me and be interested in my work.  When I was introduced they looked at me as if I had dropped in from space!

I was miserable. Why had I come? The knot in my stomach grew.

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I had tried.

As I got in my car to go home I asked God what had happened. Not in an audible voice, but the answer came back in a booming voice: “It’s not about you!”. Wow! I was so concerned about me that I missed so much of the message of the conference. My self importance – seeming self importance – got in the way of God’s blessing at that event.

So…no resolutions. Instead, I am simply making plans to give God more time. I am starting a reading plan with my church to read through the Bible in The Daily Walk Bible. I am asking God to transform me through His Word. I want to be more in love with Him each month. (Not daily. I don’t change that fast. It may be just this year – or  the rest of my lifetime – God is patient.)

I encourage you to forget your self-effort resolutions and ask God to transform you. That’s His speciality.

Happy New Year. Not because you are turning a new leaf but because you are asking God for grace to follow Him more nearly. He will do it.

 

 

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