I wanted to make a New Year’s Resolution. One that was meaningful. That would impact more than just myself. Not just, “lose 10 pounds” or “get more organized” or “save more money.” I wanted to make a change that would positively impact my family and maybe even people beyond our four walls.
So I started to make a list:
1. Smile more. During one particularly difficult week this past year I realized I couldn’t remember the last time I’d smiled at my kids. Caught up in my own little world of self-pity, I wondered around the house pensive and grim.
2. Live outside myself more. I’m an introvert, and it’s easy for me to retreat into myself, especially during weeks like the one I mentioned above. But I have three other people at home who need parts of me. I can’t keep it all to myself.
3. Be more generous. Not just with money but with my time and myself. (Refer to number 2.)
4. Be more intentional about expressing thankfulness and gratitude. I know in my heart I’m grateful, but I don’t often say it out loud.
5. Parent my boys with more grace. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that they’re just learning and that growing up it isn’t easy.
After I wrote it down, I went over the list in my head, trying to narrow it down to one resolution. Probably being pensive, grim and “inside myself” while doing so.
Then — an epiphany!
All those behaviors I wanted to change had one thing in common.
Would I smile more if I was less absorbed with my own concerns and more interested in others’? Certainly I would be more giving of my time, affections and assets. I would also be more forgiving and patient with others. And gratitude and thankfulness would overflow from a heart focused not on itself.
My resolution for 2013 is to be more generous and altruistic with my time, with my assets, with myself. At home and outside my home.
We who have strong faith should help those who are weak. We should not live to please ourselves. Each of us should live to please his neighbor. This will help him grow in faith. Even Christ did not please Himself. The Holy Writings say, “The sharp words spoken against you fell on Me.” Romans 15:1-3
I know selfishness isn’t an easy thing to tackle. We’re all selfish to one degree or another. We’re born selfish. It’s part of our sinful nature.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions… Galatians 5:19-20
It’s part of our natural instinct toward self-preservation. Of course there’s only One who can truly preserve us.
Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign LORD comes escape from death. Psalm 68:20
He also desires that we be less self-centered and more focused on others.
Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ “ Matthew 22:36-39
I’ll look to Him for help and encouragement in this endeavor of a more selfless life.
Part of me doesn’t want to publish this. Now I’m accountable to you. What if I fail?
I’ll check back in, and let you know how it’s going.