Time For A Resolution Or Two

It’s 2020, the future seems right around the corner. What did people in the past predict about the world we now live in?

  • In a lecture at the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1911, a surgeon by the name of Richard Clement Lucas made a curious prediction: that the “useless outer toes” will become used less and less, so that “man might become a one-toed race.” “This Little Piggy” would get a whole lot shorter!
  • The RAND Corporation predicted that by the year 2020 it may be possible to breed intelligent species of animals, such as apes, that will be capable of performing manual labor.
  • Robots are the typical prediction for the future—and technically, we do sort of have robots now. But global trends expert Ariane Van de Ven had some bigger ideas for 2020. She explained “there will be more robots used as therapists, companions, assistants, and even friends to help people in their everyday,” according to The Next Web.

“Good resolutions are like babies crying in church. They should be carried out immediately.” ― Charles M. Sheldon

Have you given up making New Year resolutions? This seems like a significant year. What should be on your list (if you were to make one?)

I read on the bottle that V8 has three servings of vegetables. I’m going to drink a can each day. Maybe the spicy variety tastes better?

It wasn’t very sturdy upholstery to start with, but when you’ve worn out your chair in front of the TV it’s time to get up off your rear and move more!

I’ve already started getting rid of possessions that I don’t need or use.

Wonder if I can stick with just one of these three months from now?

Your resolutions for 2020 may not work if:

  1. You make them too big – start with smaller bites (eat that elephant one bite at a time)
  2. Your resolutions are too vague, “2020 is the year of getting healthier” – what does that mean or look like? Think of something specific that you change, start there and then soon after, pick something else.
  3. Sometimes we let other people make our resolutions for us, we try to keep them happy, but our own heart/will isn’t really in it. Only goals and changes that you desire stand a chance of actually coming about.

Let me suggest a wonderful resolution that I’ve been working on the past several months. Not so much to fix my life so that I live problem free, but to stop worry so much about all the problems I do face. I’m not living my life alone. I’m never going to live problem free. But maybe I can reduce the worry and stress. Think about this as a resolution for 2020:

Stop Worrying So Much

Don’t worry and say, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ The people who don’t know God keep trying to get these things, and your Father in heaven knows you need them. Seek first God’s kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well. So don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will have its own worries. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:31-34)

What I’ve been learning is not how to avoid the cares of life or to make them go away. Instead how to stop worrying about them. They are inevitable. I think that’s why in this teaching from Jesus he uses examples that everyone has to face every single day; eating, drinking and putting on your pants. I think what he’s teaching me is that my worrying about the cares of life doesn’t really accomplish anything but making me more miserable.

So, over the past several months, as my life has been in a kind of collapse I’ve been learning to not worry. Here’s what I think has helped:

  1. Knowing and experiencing the fact that I’m not alone. The cares of life haven’t gone away, but I’m surrounded by lots of people who love me, pray for me and bear me up when needed. Just knowing this removes so much of the constant anxiety that eats away at the spirit.
  2. What always helps is to honestly look back at my past. When I see that my life lived near to God has always been a time of far less worry, it helps manage today’s fears. I’ve been here before. I’ve lived to tell a story of success. I’ve not avoided the dark days, but I’ve gotten through them with God’s help.
  3. The need to have complete control over my life is an illusion and a waste of energy. There’s too much out there that just can’t be controlled. Ever find it necessary get somewhere in a hurry on a late Friday afternoon in Houston?  The better plan is to control yourself – love God, love others. Control what you can as best you can – you.

“What is the New Year but the perfect place to live out what we learned in the old year?” ― Craig D. Lounsbrough

What did you learn in 2019? What do you need to learn in 2020?

 

 

Two Paths to Walk

I think there are two paths that each of us walk. I think we travel on these at the same time but are often unaware of one while we focus the greater part of our attention and effort on the other.

  1. We are all going about the daily busy-ness of our lives.
  2. At the very same moments, each one of us is traveling toward our end of life here on earth.

Americans now experience so much control over our lives (the Vikings aren’t going to come and plunder our village in the Spring) and we have such marvelous health and healthcare – we don’t have to face end-of-life issues as our ancestors once did (fearing the plague each time a stranger visited).

It is possible to become so caught up in the here and now, and our control over it, that we lose our perspective on the eternal. Even though you’ve heard that topic a hundred ways a hundred times before, it’s still worth thinking about. So that when you are sitting there in the middle of the disaster it’s possible to begin to see things finally as they really are. I’m reminded of the story of Lot. He faced a number of terrible tragedies.

While he was still speaking, another messenger arrived with this news: “Your sons and daughters were feasting in their oldest brother’s home. Suddenly, a powerful wind swept in from the wilderness and hit the house on all sides. The house collapsed, and all your children are dead. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.”  – Job 1:18-19

How does anyone move on after hearing this horrible news? But when it happens there’s no escape, no denial, no easy fix. It’s possible that something dreadful will happen in this lifetime to you or someone you love. During disasters, people start thinking about eternity. But why wait for the roof to fall in to awaken to these two paths you’re walking right now? Why not look for opportunities now, when you’re not in panic mode, to start putting this present life into a much larger perspective.

Remember…

  1.  None of us are in as much control as we and our bank account think we are.
  2. A walk with God that’s only (barely) a hobby will not carry anyone far when the worst news arrives.
  3. God’s concerns for us are usually different than our own self concerns – that can be alarming.
  4. When your life falls apart – for whatever reason – you will hear all sorts of religious explanations from well meaning loved ones (and strangers). Don’t let this common phenomenon change your own search for answers from God himself.
  5. Sometimes, maybe most of the time, just the presence of God is all we really need to take us down whatever road we’re forced to walk.

“Beware of trying to patch up a present refusal to walk in the light by recalling past experiences when you did walk in the light.” ― Oswald Chambers

John Muir (1838-1914) was one of America’s great naturalists. He co-founded the Sierra Club and was instrumental in helping to establish many of our national parks. I like this quote about how to walk through the world while remaining conscious of where you are really going and what’s happening all around you. Is this what we are now calling being mindful?

“I don’t like either the word [hike] or the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains – not ‘hike!’ Do you know the origin of that word saunter? It’s a beautiful word. Away back in the middle ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going they would reply, ‘A la sainte terre’, ‘To the Holy Land.’ And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not ‘hike’ through them.” ― John Muir

What would it take for you to saunter through your day tomorrow, or the rest of your life?