A New Perspective on “One Word” for the Year

If you’re like me, you know several people who choose “one word” for the year and try to live by that word. I’ve done it myself. Many are talking about it now as we’re preparing to go into the new year.
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This has got me thinking (always a dangerous thing! :)) There’s a song out now that keeps echoing in my head:

“When you don’t know what to say, just say Jesus. There’s power in the name….”

Last year, my word was “shine.” I wanted to shine Christ through me and shine in all I did, I wanted to make sure my focus was on Him.

And every time I felt like I was failing, or when I was having a bad day, I would pray. And the first word out of my mouth was “Jesus.”

I had already picked out my word for 2015, which was “time.” You know, time for God, time for others, better time management at work. You get the idea. The thing is, none of that can be accomplished without Jesus first.

While it’s great to ponder whatever word is on your heart for the new year, or if you don’t utilize “one word”, let’s not forget to name the most important: Jesus. Nothing we want to accomplish in the new year can be done without Him.

So perhaps, every year, every month, every day, we already know what our “one word” should be: Jesus.

Wishing you many blessings for 2015.

Stay focused on the one who saved us.

Being Positive, Even on a Bad Day

I’m feeling like a bit of a louse recently. Whether I can cite the excuse of the holidays, or how busy work is, or whatever, those reasons don’t excuse poor behavior.

I was unintentionally sharp with someone, who didn’t deserve my attitude, and who happened to be on the receiving end of a bad day.

We’re all guilty of snapping at someone who was just in the way of our bad mood. But because we all may understand that doesn’t make it right, and now I feel like a heel.

I’ve done what I can to rectify the situation. But that impression of me and my actions are still out there and still affected this person.

No matter how nice I will be going forward, does this person I treated poorly have a long memory or will my actions always be part of how they treat me going forward?

I can’t take it back.

What lessons can be learned?

First – the golden rule still applies: Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. In other words, treat others with kindness. In fact, I love the phrase “kill them with kindness.” If someone is being rude and having a bad day, the best way to diffuse the situation is to stay calm and treat them with kindness.

I’ve found the yelling or matching their level of rudeness only escalates the situation.

Second – the other lesson I’ve learned is to be forgiving. It is true that if you hold a grudge against someone, even if they are in the wrong, you’re the only one who continues to be hurt. You’re not hurting them by holding that grudge and by remaining angry.

We all need to “Let Go and Let God.”

God needs to work through me to make me aware of my actions and how those actions affect others. My thoughts, actions and words can have a positive influence or a negative influence.

When I had that bad day recently and exhibited poor behavior to someone else, I may have hurt them, but I’ve also hurt myself.

The whole conversation would’ve turned out different had I been able to hold my tongue, answered their questions and moved on, instead of lashing out at them.

Taking a deep breath, not having a snap response, especially when it’s not a good day, can make all the difference…not just to someone else, but to myself as well.

To the person to whom I snapped, I hope they forgive me. And I hope I show that same spirit of forgiveness the next time someone else has a bad day and snaps at me.

How do you handle your bad days? What do you say when you do have a bad day and have hurt others?

How do you show a spirit of forgiveness?

I’d love to hear from you so maybe we can all help each other be a positive influence.

Swimming Upstream

Are there times when you feel like you’re going against the tide? Or that your beliefs are counter to the world’s beliefs?

These days as a Christian, I feel like I’m swimming upstream.

I long for a time when people knew it was okay to “agree to disagree.” Everyone is different, we are created different, so we’re all not going to think alike or act alike or be alike. And by not being alike, well, that keeps life interesting!

But if I happen not to agree with someone, I’m somehow called “intolerant.”salmon-swimming-upstream-1

That’s so not true!

You don’t have to believe as I do. But I ask that you respect my views, even if you don’t understand them or think they’re outdated or ridiculous. I may not understand your views, lifestyles or beliefs, but you’re a fellow human being. Because I don’t agree, doesn’t make me intolerant. It just means I don’t agree. Feel free to live your life as you choose.

But please do me the same courtesy. Allow me to have my beliefs. We can discuss what each other believes and why, but we may not come to a meeting of the minds. Does that make us enemies? No. It means we’re citizens of this world with opposing viewpoints. Respect mine and I’ll respect yours.

This day in age though, if I disagree with someone, I’m intolerant, hypocritical or worse. All of that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I love people. I may not love what you do or how you live… and in turn, you may not love what I do or how I choose to live, but don’t call me names for it. Let’s just agree to disagree.

Maybe that way, none of us will feel like we’re swimming upstream.

Balancing Act

Our pastor of worship arts gave a great message over the weekend.  I’ve been pondering his words for the past few days. 

He spoke about Christians living in a bubble and how we need to step out from that bubble.  And when we step out of that bubble, how are we perceived? 

I think it’s a matter of finding the balance.  We need our “Christian bubble” for encouragement, support, to learn and grow as Christians, and to go deep in our friendships. We need that fellowship.

But with our jobs, our hobbies, heck, even at the grocery store, we’re going to run into people of different faiths, different lifestyles and some who very decidedly are not Christians.

So, how do these other people perceive us?  If you think about the perception of Christians in general, do you think that perception is positive?  I think we all know the answer to that.

Growing up, I remember a song from church: “They will know we are Christians by our love…”

What’s one of the most well-known verses in the Bible: “Love one another.”

Are we missing that message these days?  If you run across someone living a lifestyle you know is contrary to God’s word, how do you treat them? 

You may immediately counter with how we are being treated.  That’s not the point.  In all our dealings with people in our lives, we should be courteous, kind and most of all respectful.  Whether you agree or disagree with their views, actions, lifestyle, religion — don’t you think we’ll get farther in our relationships and in our ability to plant some seeds, if they are planted with kindness and respect?

I know Christians are supposed to share the good news of the Bible.  Yet, our calling may not be to change people right there on the spot. For me personally, I believe that I plant more seeds, show Christ’s love more abundantly by how I live my life and how I treat others.

If I am kind, considerate and respectful — won’t that give a better image of “Christian” than showving my views down someone’s throat?  I don’t like when someone shoves their views at me.  How do you want to be treated?

Again, it’s a balance.  And it’s a thin tightrope to walk.  But I believe in the old saying “Kill ’em with kindness.”

Personally, I want someone to know “we are Christians by our love.”