And here comes 2015

Christmas 2014 is history. Its time to take down the lights and start the move into 2015. The new year with all its unknown. This is the time to look back and see what has been and then plan for what we want the new, fresh and clean year to become. And I just want it to be over and done. I’m tired of looking into the future and seeing a long, lonely road. I don’t want to think or contemplate the future. It’s just more of the same.

2014 was a big year of changes for me. I started a new job with a new company that I really enjoy. (Totally a God thing.) I’ve taken a break from some of my ministry commitments in order to refuel and decide my next steps. My daughter moved into her own place and is establishing her life away from me. I found out that my son is going to be a father in the spring of 2015. Good changes, really. But, it doesn’t mean they were easy changes. And, there are more to come.

I have realized that I cannot look at 2015 in one big view. It’s too overwhelming for me. I have failed before the new year has even begun. I’m not sure how to approach 2015. As hard as I try, I can’t dream about the future. I’ve learned the hard lesson that when dreams die, it hurts. I’m afraid of disappointment (my own and of others) and any more loss. I know that living in fear of loss/pain robs me of many wonderful experiences. I barely held it together during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays this year. I have forgotten how to be content on my own. I have lost the art of being one and only one. I have become too dependent on others and on busyness to keep me distracted from what my life really is. I have to figure it all out, again.

So, for me, 2015 means ONE. I have to relearn being ONE. I have to separate “me” from my children, my friends and my work. I must stop depending on others and learn to stand alone. I have to face 2015 day by day, for this is my life. There is no one else to live it with me or for me.

Psalm 121:1 -2 “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” (KJV)

Candy Crush Life

Have you ever played Candy Crush? It’s a popular and rather addictive game. You progress through the levels by amassing points, eliminating enough jelly, and bringing down various fruit. The premise is simple: you match colors in groups of three or more to score. Eliminating more than three items nets you some additional ‘perks’ to use in the game. There are time bombs that have to be eliminated and that nasty chocolate that creeps across and blocks access to parts of the board as well as a limited number of moves for each level. Some levels were easy to conquer and then some have taken me weeks to master.

There are times that my life feels like a Candy Crush game. I can get so focused on getting a bonus piece that I totally overlook the chocolate that is taking over my board. In life, I am just as guilty of focusing too much in one area and totally missing the truly important stuff. I try so hard to get what is important in the moment and I lose everything in the end.

So how do I live in this moment but keep my focus on the bigger picture? What IS the bigger picture? That’s where Faith come into play. Too often my faith in only as strong as a three or four-color string of candy. When the chocolate creeps across and makes things difficult, I panic and fall apart. I need to have complete faith and trust on the promises God had given me through His word:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

I have to stop focusing on MY little plans and adventures. In 2014, I pray that my goals and plans are God designed, not of the Candy Crush variety. I desire my heart to belong to my Lord and Savior and follow his lead in my life. No matter what creeps in and offers a distraction, I will focus on the higher goal.

This won’t be easy. The “candy” in life is everywhere. I will enjoy bits and pieces along the way, I just can’t allow my focus to be dependent on the perks. What about you? Do you live a Candy Crush life? Is this the year to make a difference in your life?

Wait

Since I live in the Houston area, I spend time in traffic. I’m always amazed (and at times irritated) by the liberties taken by some of my fellow drivers. When merging onto the freeway, there’s always that one driver that just has to cut in front of me; even though there are no cars behind me! Just this morning, traffic was particularly heavy because of rainy weather, I saw several cars wait until the last-minute to move into the right lane so they could make the next corner. In fact, one driver waited so long, he made his right turn from the middle lane having never made it into the right turn lane. Fortunately, the driver in that turn lane was watching and avoided their potential crash meeting. I’m sure the middle lane person had a REALLY important place to be and that superseded any appointments of those drivers that he cut-off with reckless abandon. He NEEDED that short-cut!

Our world is full of short-cuts. we have learned the short-cut keys to use on the computer to save key strokes. Call ahead to be put your name on the restaurant waiting list before you even arrive. Cut thru neighborhoods to avoid traffic. Check out the latest “miracle” diet that guarantees quick weight-loss. We buy microwaves, turbo ovens, pressure cookers, and any other device that is FAST. We rush into physical relationships based on emotions and personal desires. Faster is better. My time is important, I need to maximize it. I AM IMPORTANT!

And then I read Psalm 27:14. “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Wait. Really? There are no short-cuts with God. God has a plan for my life. And, no matter how much I beg, whine, or complain, that plan will be revealed in God’s time. I am to wait for Him. I am to develop my relationship with Him. When I attempt to jump ahead of the line and get MY way, I miss important parts of the journey. And, I usually end up circling around to the back of the line, anyway. Wait. Just Wait. Such any easy concept and yet so hard to accomplish.

In 2013, I’m learning to wait. How about you?