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A different kind of resolution, for a different kind of year

Does it seem to you that times are changing, and maybe not for the better, at least for now? So many people I talk to seem frightened and unsure of what is going on, in the economy, in the world, and even in their immediate lives. The winds of change do seem to be blowing, but as the saying goes “it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good”.

Remember another saying that says “crisis plus danger equals opportunity”? That may or may not be so in the actual Chinese (take a look at this post — Google is an amazing tool!) But I digress. We may not get to choose our circumstances, but we can definitely choose our reactions to them.

There is so much financial uncertainty around us, and I think it can be a very good thing in terms of helping us reorder our priorities. The Bible tells us in so many places to “put not your trust in princes, in men in whom there is no salvation” and “where your treasure is, there your heart is also”. So many times our New Year’s resolutions center on material things, like earning more money, or superficial things, like losing weight.

What if we decided to make some New Year’s resolutions about being better people, or about helping those around us more? As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the secret to achieving resolutions is to focus not on the result, but on the process. So if my resolution is to be a better person, or to help others more, my next step is to ask myself “how will I know when this is true?” By determining the behaviors that go into making the changes, I determine what I need to do each day or each week. This can be my focus.

So here’s to a New Year where we think hard about our priorities and what is important to us. Take care of yourself, so that you can take care of your family. Then help your family to help someone else who is in need. If we all do this, the world is really going to be a better place. Think that it’s too big of a job? Remember the story of the starfish? Here it is:

A little girl was walking along a beach littered with thousands of starfish who had been washed ashore and were dying as the tide receded. One at a time, she picked up a starfish and threw it back into the ocean, so that it could live. A stranger came upon her and, after watching for awhile, asked her why she was bothering. After all, there were so many starfish. “What difference can you make”, he asked. She reached down, tossed another starfish and answered, “It makes a difference to this one”.

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Mother Teresa said some similar things. Among them are, “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you” and “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” So never be discouraged that you can’t make a difference.

Happy New Year!

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