Yeah, I know it’s a few days early but I like to get an early start on things (just ask my best friend whom I’ve known almost 22 years now). I’m still in Oregon enjoying my little mini-vacation but was thinking about a brand new year starting to unfold again. The last three have been a bit rough, so I’m ready for a change!!! How about you?
I’m finally ready to leave the past behind me. I thought I had, but it’s hard when there are so many memories back there, both good and bad. I plan to remember the good, and, right now . . . this very moment . . . I’m letting go of the bad. I think, on New Year’s Day, I’ll make a copy of the 33-page document I have on all of the jobs I’ve applied for since April 22, 2009 (463 to date) and burn it. Yeah . . . I like that idea. I need a fresh start–a blank page–to start the process over again.
The world is in bad shape right now . . . and not just America. And the only way it’s going to improve is by each one of us choosing to look beyond what we hear on television or read in the media; look beyond the hurts we either intentionally or unintentionally inflict on each other, and look beyond our own circumstances to the larger global society. We live in extremely stressful times where many (but not all, fortunately) of the world’s economies are shattering under the strain. I don’t know about you, but as I listen to the news on a regular basis, I find myself feeling bleak about the future, and after three years of looking for employment with zilch to show for it I lose sight of where my focus needs to be and to stay.
If you’re like me, we often get so focus on our circumstances that our vision gets severely clouded. It’s at times like this that we need to recall the words of the Apostle Paul, who knew how to live joyously in both prosperous circumstances and far more often in diverse and challenging circumstances–many times from a prison cell. He kept his eyes off of his circumstances and on God, no matter what the situation was that presented itself to him. Indeed, his example is the one we need to follow.
I posted Paul’s word from The Message Bible in a previous post, but want to repeat them here as we begin another New Year–2012: “I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it” (Phil. 3:12-16 MSG).
Those are good words to start a new year with, don’t you think? I sure do. So I’m asking God to clear my blurred vision and help me to stay on the right track. It’s so very easy to get sidetracked and start living in a dream world because we don’t know how to change the world as we find it at this moment. I’ve come to learn, better late than never, that a dream world is not the same as living by faith. While my faith has grown a lot over the past three years (especially when I have seen God provide so miraculously in my finances and my basic needs), I allowed a dream world that I wished had come true back at that job I lost in Houston to soften the blows of these past three years of unemployment, because, quite frankly, these past three years have been staggering at times to navigate from an employment standpoint, especially on several occasions when I was so close to getting a job but ended up being #2, which doesn’t count for anything when it comes to getting a job.
So, I realized today that I need to set aside that dream and move forward by faith–and not cloud and dampen that faith with a dream. There is a significant difference between the two, at least in my case.
Like Paul, I’m not saying I have this all together, and by no means do I count myself an expert in anything, not even in my former career (former only because I can’t seen to find a job in it anymore), but, again, like Paul, I want to keep my eye on the goal, “where God is beckoning us onward–to Jesus” (vs. 14); and I’m going to lay aside my dream and run this race by faith.
How about you?
YouTube Video is in tribute to Dan Fogelberg:
Photo credit here