There is a wrong and right way to start a new year. There is also a better way to approach it. Let me offer you a few suggestions.
1. Really Pray.
There is what I call a token prayer. You pray for the sake that you prayed or you can tell others (or pretend to yourself) that you prayed. Start the new year by going to your room (or bathroom) and REALLY PRAY! You can tell yourself that you do pray but are you? When you receive a message asking for prayer, don’t just immediately reply back with a praying emoji or a short “Praying.” response. Before sending a reply, drop your phone, close your eyes and pray. Spend a few minutes, not a few seconds. This is what you really need to do.
2. Really Read Your Bible.
There is also a token way of daily Bible reading, just so that you will have a nice feeling that you actually read your Bible. You can do better by understanding what you read. A simple Google search can give you a multitude of resources to have a better grasp of a passage of Scripture that you just read. You can also consult a commentary to find out what insights other people have. Don’t let your pride get in the way of what the Lord wants to tell you.
There is a wrong and right way to start a new year. There is also a better way to approach it.
3. Really Have Compassion.
Try really doing something. The Greater Good Magazine of Berkeley defines compassion to literally mean “to suffer together.” Among emotion researchers, it is defined as the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering. The important thing here is to not let your feelings of compassion stay just a feeling. You need to push yourself to action. If you hear of someone suffering cancer, you know that it is very expensive to treat. Sending money to that person, even how small it may be, is better than wishing that they “get better soon.”
4. Really Give.
Not just thoughts or prayers. Give money. Give time. Give effort. There are so many that you can give, not just money. Sometimes you can give a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on. Generosity in whatever form is still giving. Of course, you can do this better but if you are not of the habit or culture of giving, you need to start somewhere.
5. Really Be There.
Social media has made all of us easily take for granted the experience of presence. We can see everyone that we care about online but we do not experience them. This is not connection as Facebook would want you to believe, especially now when newsfeeds can become toxic in a matter of minutes. Life is not meant to be isolated. It needs to be shared.
So welcome to the new year. We can start it better!
Isaiah 43:19 (NIV), “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
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