Today, make a commitment to yourself to never settle for less than what you deserve!
|Three Steps Forward, Two Steps Back
by Marilyn Mackenzie
It happens every year. Just a few days after our New Year’s celebrations, we begin to give up hope for achieving any of our New Year’s resolutions.
A new year approaches, and I wish for everyone a real "ah-ha" moment. You do know what an ah-ha moment is, don't you? That's a moment in time when things fall into place and everything makes sense.
It would certainly be best if these "ah-ha" moments would come during our twenty-somethings, or even our thirty-somethings. But, alas, for most of us that is not the case.
For many of us, once we are facing our forties or fifties or even sixties or beyond, we finally realize what life has been all about. And we silently wish we had experienced a "light-bulb" moment earlier in our lives. But, we also know if we had, we just might have ignored it anyway.
At some point in our lives, there comes a time when we finally begin to "get it." We finally begin to understand the world around us. I wish that kind of moment for you as the new year approaches, so that you can make new plans and commitments.
Perhaps now will be the time in your life that you look through the fears you've had and shout, "That's it!" I've fought and cried and struggled enough. "I've had it!" And when you've blinked the tears away, perhaps you'll see the world with new eyes - eyes no longer blinded by fear.
With these new eyes, hoping and waiting for wonderful and joyful things to happen will cease. You'll realize that you can't sleep waiting for the Prince to awaken you with a kiss, and that if your life is to have a "happily ever after" ending or even a fairy tale beginning (once upon a time...), the entire process must begin with you.
Ah-ha! Perhaps you'll discover that you are not perfect, and that you can't expect that everyone will approve of who you are or appreciate you or love you. You'll figure out for yourself that everyone doesn't have to love you or approve of you.
You'll learn that what the seminar leaders and motivational speakers have said is true. You must love and then sell yourself. What confidence you'll have as you discover that you really are okay. More than okay, you are spectacular!
What will come next in this process of self-discovery is that you will suddenly stop complaining and blaming the world around you for things that have happened or have not happened. You'll discover that many people have said to you, "Read my lips!" and have lied and let you down. But, you'll learn that you cannot take the blame for their faults.
You'll become stronger as you learn to rely on yourself. A most wonderful happening will follow, as you stop judging others and begin to accept people for who and what they are, with faults and shortcomings. You'll forgive your fellow man for letting you down, and in the process you'll discover a wonderful peace.
People have told you for years that how and what you think of yourself is caused by messages that you've received since your birth. You'll discover that many lies have been told to you and that the kind of house in which you live or the type of car you drive is not really important. You'll find that it's not important that you wear certain brands of clothing, or that you shop in particular stores.
You'll truly finally understand that material things are not important, nor is what others believe you should think or say. The differences between wanting and needing will become suddenly clear to you, as you redefine yourself.
Ah-ha! It really is better to give than to receive, for by giving we receive so much more in return. The things Jesus taught his disciples and the character traits that our founding fathers thought were so important, really are important.
Honesty and integrity are not a thing of the past, but are just as important in today's world as they ever were. Perhaps new foundations need to be made in your own life and in those whom you love and teach.
Here's a wonderful discovery. You can say NO. Perhaps it's time to learn to discern your responsibilities, and to learn to ignore undeserved guilt feelings about things you cannot change, things that should not be your responsibility to try to change.
Perhaps this year you will learn about love. About romantic love. About love of family. And about the love our God has for His people.
Perhaps you'll learn that you don't become better because someone loves you, and that you mustn't demand love as a means for making you happy.
You may discover that by being alone sometimes, you can dig deep into your own self and discover who you really are and are becoming. Perhaps you'll learn that others cannot define you. Only you and God can do that.
A new year always brings resolutions about changing one's appearance. Losing weight for health reasons is not wrong. Perhaps you'll learn this year to be able to look into your mirror and realize that your eyes will never see perfection, unless you can try to see yourself with God's eyes. Even God doesn't really see perfection, but He does see a work in progress. Perhaps you'll learn that the Artist is not finished with his work of art.
Because you realize your worth in God's eyes, you'll also realize that you deserve to love and be loved, to expect to be treated kindly, to deserve the respect of others. And, you'll know that you mustn't settle for less.
Knowing your worth and value will help as you make commitments to eat healthier foods and to stop smoking. Only if you can see yourself with the eyes of God, only if you can see what you can become with His help, can you attempt a healthier lifestyle and expect to succeed.
That healthier lifestyle includes getting plenty of rest. You'll soon discover that not sleeping the required amount of time zaps your strength. And having less strength than you need - physically, emotionally, spiritually - helps create the doubts and fears you've had for so long.
You'll also remember how wonderful it was to be a child and to feel and express true joy and happiness. You'll include laughter as a daily event in your life, and seek out friends who make you laugh and enjoy life.
Perhaps this new year will bring the realization that it's true that things worth having are worth working and fighting for, and that wishing for something to happen doesn't make it so.
Ah-ha! Those other character traits that our descendants espoused were important. To succeed, to achieve success as you now define it requires perseverance and discipline, just as they told us.
Worthwhile projects can often be achieved better with a willing helping hand. How true it is that, "No man is an island...". Asking for help does not make one weak.
Books and articles abound about the topic of why bad things happen to good people. Perhaps this year, you'll learn to accept that fact without analyzing too much or thinking that God is punishing you. Perhaps you'll learn to pick yourself up and go forward, with the help of our Lord.
Ah-ha! It is important to have a positive outlook on life. So many people have said that! Negative feelings will only drain your strength. Perhaps you'll learn to awake each new day and count your blessings, for there are millions of people who are not as well off as you, even in your darkest hour. If you live in the United States, even if your are the poorest of the poor, you are still living a much better life than many people in other countries.
At the beginning of each new year, we've been programmed to make unrealistic resolutions and goals and plans. Perhaps today you'll make a commitment to yourself to never settle for less than what you deserve!
Remember, with God all things are possible. Perhaps today you'll begin a new life, walking a new path. Previously you've tried this. You've taken three steps forward and two steps back, two steps forward and one step back. Enough! Take control of your life today and step out boldly! With God by your side, you can begin to have a life designed by the two of you.
Today is the first day of the rest of your life!
For more about starting the New Year, see