January 1, 2014

Happy New Year with a new focus

So the year is done and I have less than a month to prepare for my older son's 11th birthday.  Last year, inspired by oneword365.com I focused on joy with moderate success.  This year as I have been praying to figure out what God wants me to focus my efforts for the coming year, many words have come to me.  In Bridgetender Academy this year, the focus has been to help my kids become kinder and more respectful to each other because those are life skills that God values. God has been working powerfully in me to help me become kinder and more respectful, though, as all Christians, I stumble and need His grace, forgiveness and restoration.  I am seeing some response in the kids, but have gone through a rough period of backlash that reminds me that progress is never a straight path, but a series of loops that go through mountains and ditches.

But kindness is not what God wants me to focus on this year.  The word I kept getting from Him while running this week is "presence."  With my iPhone and other things, it is so easy to check out of pretty much everything and even easier to take a 2 second "check out" when in a group of people to see what is going on in some application or other.  We have instant video through Amazon and Netflix and then there are blogs to read which "need" comments.  None of these things individually are bad.  In fact, I can say that I have made new friends with Ken and Christie Hagermann, missionaries in Asuncion,Paraguay because I made comments on their blog and comments led to email and email led to a Skype conversation to help them celebrate the New Year at 8pm our time last night.  However, obsessively checking Facebook or other interactive applications on our phones and putting priority on them rather than people is exactly the opposite of the overall job God has given us of loving Him with everything we have and loving our neighbors as ourselves.  It is distracted living, which is far more dangerous than distracted driving, because we can miss so many blessings, so many treasured moments, so many opportunities to show the love of Jesus and have really NOTHING to show for it.  So my goal this year is to be fully present with God, fully present with my family, fully present with friends and fully present with neighbors and whoever He throws in my path.  And this is what it will look like:

  • Less Facebook presence--feel free to call me out on FB when I start backsliding (because backsliding is part of persevering)
  • Less comments on blogs, though I will still keep reading the blogs that I am reading because I REALLY enjoy reading them. 
  • More phone calls to keep in touch.  Be forwarned!
  • More face-to-face time for AZ folks
Happy New Year.  May God bless you and keep you, may He make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you, the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26)

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