The New Year is off and running. I stand amazed at how fast time flies anymore. Seems we run one day into a month, then half a year is gone at the blink of an eye. James 4:14 shares that life is here for a time, then it vanishes. I think that really applies to time and our lives.
Time is a valuable commodity. You can’t touch, smell, taste, hear or see time. Yet, it is the barometer of measuring our life. Â
How we measure our lives is a funny thing. To most people that measure their lives, it is summed up in one word: Success.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 provides a clear perspective on many things about our lives. â€œFor everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; …â€
In time, we apply benchmarks of productivity to be fulfilled. This measures our successes in life. Some goals are part of our life expectancy in our upbringing. We live our lives according to the expectations of those who came before us, e.g. job, marriage, house, children, etc.
So you ask why time is important to you and me, today, right now as we start the new year of 2018. That is a simple thing yet so hard to understand.
We are only promised this day to live. Therefore it is important to live fully in the now and make the most of today.
Unfortunately not many live in today, but are trapped by their yesterdays or live in the land of â€œWhat if.â€
Over the last few years, as I have traveled, sung and spoken to countless people, I have heard from so many about lives that are filled with hurts, disappointments and frustrations. It seems that, as we measure our lifeâ€™s success, many are trapped by something they have no control over at all. But they continue to allow â€œitâ€ to hold them captive.
Many live in their remembered glory days, hoping those days will return once again. Others are blemished by what someone said or may have done to them in times past.
In these instances we allow ourselves to be contained and restrained by the past. We are not living life but merely going through the motions, as we have succumbed and relinquished our power to live. We are manipulated by not taking control of our lives.Â
Whatever it may be that holds us captive in our life, only lives because you and I give it power. That one person who said or was a bully to you has lived their life and most likely forgotten what they did or said in their youth to you and others. Yet you have continued to be held captive to their forgotten misdeeds. LET THEM GO. You can live fully today.
To those living in the land of â€œWhat if,â€ we are looking back at what was. We are always wanting a do-over. We hear people say, â€œIt would be different ifâ€¦.â€ That small word holds so many people back because they canâ€™t see over, around or under IF.
By not overcoming â€œIT” or “IF,â€ we have never fulfilled our best life. By living in the land of â€˜What ifâ€ we have never achieved what could be within our reach.
You and I canâ€™t live fully in the New Year if we keep re-living our yesteryears. What is history remains and canâ€™t be changed or even re-lived. We must let it go.
Also, we canâ€™t live in tomorrow, as it has not been written. Imagining what tomorrow may be, only tarnishes today.
Living in the present allows you to write and live history in the making, your history.
There is a song that says â€œLive like You Were Dying.â€ What a thought, that we live our life today as it is our last day. In fact this novel thought is not that farfetched, as we are not promised tomorrow.
We can live today fully in the now. Letâ€™s all strive and aim for a better life. This is perhaps the ultimate goal of everyone. We constantly aim for reformation; we do practices with hopes that they somehow lead us to aÂ better path. This is just how life goes and itâ€™s what makes it even more challenging.
Here are 20 steps on how you can make your life better:
- Accept yourself â€“ what you are and what you are not.
- Always choose to look at the brighter side of things, being pessimistic gets you nowhere.
- Forgive and pray for others, including those who hurt you, itâ€™s the best way to get back at them. Â Remember forgiveness is not always for them, but for you too.
- Take care of yourself â€“ eat healthy and exercise; you only live once.
- Simplify the way you live your life. Who wants a complicated one?
- Give yourself good hours of sleep. Enough hours of sleep time will give you a good day and a good mood the next morning. Â Â Â Â
- Spend. Whatâ€™s a better way to enjoy the money youâ€™ve worked for than to spend it?
- Learn to say no. Constantly searching for othersâ€™ approval by always saying yes, will only make you miserable; plus, you wonâ€™t enjoy things youâ€™re only forced to do.
- Keep your things organized. Cluttered stuff can lead to a cluttered mind.
- Set your daily goals. Having a daily to-do list helps you organize your daily activities minimizing the possibility of overlooking some. It also helps reduce stress.
- Work at your own pace. Instead of keeping up with othersâ€™ pace, work at your own rhythm; you wouldnâ€™t want a mediocre and half-baked result, would you?
- Do something for the kid in you. An ice cream treat, a stuffed toy gift â€“ we all have a child in us.
- Talk clean. Challenge yourself not to say one negative word each day and aim to lessen the number you do say.
- Cook (or order good to-go food). Treat your tummy to a delightful meal, it deserves that treat.Â
- Spend time with nature. A good walk to a nature park, a mountain or a beach will give you time to recharge and reunite with nature; plus you get a time out from the busy city life.
- Make a bucket list and update it yearly. Make it a tradition to make a bucket list and aim to do everything you have written in it. Add more to the list during your birthday â€“ new things to look forward to in your next year in this world.
- Have a cheat day. If you are disciplining yourself to do something say a diet, set a specific day of the week to break the rules â€“ we all enjoy a little criminal act.Â
- Make a list of things you are most thankful for. When you see all these blessings on paper, you will realize and appreciate all the blessings you have in life.
- Talk to a friend whom youâ€™ve lost contact with for a long time.
- Spend quality time with your loved ones. We all have our work and busy schedules and spending time with your loved ones is the best off-from-work activity you can do for them and for yourself. Make memories.
Life is as it is; challenging, sometimes disappointing, and sometimes fun. Regardless of how life treats you, it will always depend on how you treat it. We only have one lifetime to live, so why not make the most of it?
While stress, disappointments and hurts are inevitable, the choice to be happy remains just that â€“ a choice. You always have the say on how you let things affect you, so choose to be positive today.
When you need a certain pick me up to renew the place God has in your life, just remember 1 John 4:4: “â€¦greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” God is greater than anything life can throw at you.
By Charlie Griffin, monthly contributor to SGNScoops Magazine and Gospel music artist.
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