Happy New Year Everyone!!
Every year on New Year’s I always remember one special New Year’s Day. That is really unusual for me because New Year’s has never been one of my favorite holidays. I can’t remember ever staying up to ring in the New Year and I have only been to one or two New Year’s parties. I left those early and was home about 10:00, so for me to remember a special New Year’s Day is something.
It happened many years ago. I had gone to bed early as usual on New Year’s Eve and woke up about 5:30 the next morning. I was heating the house with our one pot belly stove and we were all sleeping and living in just a couple of rooms at the back of our house.
The kids were still sleeping so I couldn’t do much for fear of waking them. I sat quietly down at the kitchen table, started eating some leftover pecan pie (my breakfast of choice on Christmas and New Year’s morning) and thinking about the past year. That was also unusual for me to do because I never stew over the past year on New Year’s and I never give the next year much thought.
For some reason, out of the blue, I started dwelling on things. I started getting very discouraged and was feeling like having a pity party. I was shocked because I had been through so much the previous year and that whole time I hadn’t given in to self pity but all of a sudden I was wallowing in it.
You have to understand that, to me, having a pity party is as much of a sin as robbing a bank, lying or committing adultery so I started praying that God would help pull me out of it because I could tell it was going to be bad.
I grabbed my Bible because I was so sure that was what I was supposed to do and started reading it hoping it would help me but instead it made matters worse. Every verse I read said something like, “woe to you and your house.” I couldn’t believe it. Of course, by this point I was sure I had a right to feel sorry for myself so I told God, “Look– even when I read your word you tell me how miserable I am.” I was not thinking rationally at all but I still kept praying for help and trying to fight it.
My eyes fell on a pile of library books I had gotten a few days before. One of them was Erma Bombeck’s book, If Life is a Bowl of Cherries Why am I Always in the Pits? I wasn’t sure why I had checked it out because it wasn’t the kind of book that I usually read. I really wasn’t sure I felt like reading it now but I did relate to the always in the pits part. This little voice kept telling me to read it so I finally gave in and did.
Before I was through the first paragraph I started chuckling. The more I read, the harder I laughed. I was trying so hard to keep from laughing out loud so I wouldn’t wake the kids but I was to the point of belly laughing and finally Tawra called to me, “Mom what are you doing in there?!?”
I spent the rest of the day laughing my head off. Gone was the pity party. I had the best New Year’s ever. I also learned a couple of things that day.
First, we have a choice. We can have a pity party or a good laugh. Which do you think is better for us and our families?
Second I wasn’t stretching it when I said I had had a bad year. I had heard a speaker a few months earlier who gave us a list of the ten most stressful things that can happen to someone and he said that if you have 1-2 of those happen within a year’s time that you were probably under a great deal of stress and if you had had 3-4 things happen you needed to seek help.
When I heard that I had to chuckle to myself. I had 9 of those 10 things happen to me, all with in a 5 month period. I really did have something to be discouraged about but I also had something to be excited about.
Every time one of those 9 stressful things happened, God was right there to pull me through. It had gotten to the point where I almost became excited when I came to a road block because I could hardly wait to see how He would work this problem out.
What I had learned that day was, as much as He was there helping me through the “big” things, on this day He was there helping me with my little everyday pity parties too.
We have all had things happen to us this past year and will have more things happen this coming year. Life happens and we have a choice to either stay paralyzed by fear, not even trying, or to face each day with courage and with God’s help to try to figure out how to fix the problem.
Joshua is one of my favorite Bible characters. When he saw the land of giants, he essentially said, “So what if there are giants (problems). God will help us take care of them.” He had a child like faith. He was like a child that says, “My dad can do anything”. The bullies can come and He is there to fight them.
The others wanted to run and go back to their slavery but Joshua didn’t give in to his fear and he succeeded and made it to the promised land. Don’t be like those others, so paralyzed by your fear you can think of nothing to do but to go backwards and return to your slavery, whether that is debt, no job, how much you weigh or living in a messy house. Get up and fearlessly move forward, not back.
God also told Joshua in Joshua 1:9, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
You either choose to believe those words or not. It is very simple. If you believe them, then you can step out this year and when the bullies start coming down the path towards you you won’t bat an eye because your Father who is bigger and stronger than you is walking right there beside you and He will take care of them. The battle is His, not yours. Don’t go back into your slavery this year, no matter what it is.
photo by: marufish