We are big fans of the new year around here. While the haters are bashing the resolution-makers and the resolution-makers are stealing the haters’ parking spot at the gym, we are happily cleaning out our closets, reorganizing the drawers, breaking open new journals complete with new pens, and starting the new year out fresh. If you asked us to give you our list of resolutions, our eyes would immediately glaze over and the silence would be awkward for everyone. There is no list, no word for the year, no plan to change everything….just a fresh commitment to the things that matter most to us. But January is vitally important for our health, because life is good about causing us to drift from what should be priorities for us.
Does that happen to you too? Life gets busy and hectic. Suddenly you turn around and realize that you aren’t where you want to be at all. You believe that family is the thing that matters at the end of the day and yet all of your time has been given to work instead of them lately. Or you believe that your relationship with God is a big priority, only your life doesn’t evidence it. Perhaps you go to give advice to a friend and feel like the world’s worst hypocrite as the words of wisdom are pouring out of your mouth. Because you believe one thing but are living something else.
All of us need times where we stop and calibrate our life. Instruments, weapons, various tools need calibration. With use and time, things get off-centered. And then it becomes untrustworthy. No one wants to drive a car that doesn’t steer straight or go to a physician whose instruments give faulty reports. Why then would we want to live a life that isn’t focused, centered, and operating according to our deepest convictions?
The answer is none of us. And yet, we do. Sometimes for long periods of time.
Maybe it is because we are not very aware of ourselves or our habits. It could be our friends who are encouraging us to drift and stay where things are comfortable. There is also the possibility that our fear is holding us captive. After all, change is difficult no matter how much you want it.
You know what we have noticed? Some changes are highly supported and encouraged in our society while others are quickly swept under the carpet. For instance, have you noticed how many instagrams and facebook posts that come your direction from people who are making better eating and exercise choices. Aha! You too!! It is a never-ending flood!
Making better financial decisions…not so much in the way of fanfare. Unless you are on the Dave Ramsey facebook page. Other than that, we don’t want to celebrate unless you hit a huge milestone. Go ahead and post the out-of-debt celebration but don’t you dare start posting 40 Days of Not Wasting Money!
There are things in life that many of us would agree are really important but culture doesn’t nod in that direction. So, we drift.
Take an important holiday coming up that shines the light on relationships. Valentine’s Day is all about love, right? And not just any kind of love, but the kind of love that hopefully turns or has turned into the foundation of two lives becoming one and a home being established. It’s a pretty big deal or should be. Not necessarily cue the music and lights, wine and dine, lavish the other person with expensive gifts kind of deal, though. None of those things are bad, but none of those things calibrate the heart either. You can’t fix what’s wrong on the inside of a misaligned instrument by shining up the outside. Just the same, you can’t focus a relationship on where it needs to go with an over-sized stuffed teddy bear.
What if we made February 14th like the New Years Day for our relationships? And not just for all the married people. Why not start to prepare for the day when that kind of love enters your life when you are single? Instead of hyping up a big celebration (or lack of one) and waking up on February 15th to do things the same way we did them last year, what if this became our day to calibrate our everyday decisions with what really matters about love and commitment.
This past Sunday, I (Jamie) had an older couple stop me at the door as they were leaving church. The gentleman grabbed my hand and asked, “How long have you and Danny been married?” “11 years,” I responded. He grinned, nodded to his wife right beside him, “73 years.” I could hardly believe it! Neither of them looked like they had been married that long. But the affectionate looks that travelled between them told me that this was a love that had been well-cared for, for a long time.
Let’s be those who care for love, whether it is already in our life or we are waiting for it to come in our direction. Let’s make a commitment to value love enough to prepare for it, spend time re-focusing it, and intentionally working hard to always keep it looking and feeling young (even as our bodies grow old.)
In honor of Valentine’s Day and love that lasts, we are giving away some books to help you do just that. (Yay, I love books!)
If you are single, dating, or engaged, we want to recommend Andy Stanley’s new book, The New Rules for Love, Sex, and Dating.
Or if you are on the other side of the marriage altar, we want to suggest Craig and Amy Groeschel’s new book From This Day Forward: Five Commitments to Fail-Proof Your Marriage.
To win either of these books, just leave a comment with the book you would most like to read. We will contact the winners and have the books available at the Welcome Center on Sunday morning. Happy Valentine’s Day! Here’s to marriages that last 73+ years!!!