2015 has already started out as such a whirlwind, I feel like I haven’t had a chance to take a breath. But I did take a few moments to identify the three greatest lessons I learned in 2014 so I could write them down, apply them to 2015 and share them with you.
They’re pretty straight forward, but I can assure you, learning them was a whole lot harder then writing them out.
Lesson One: Live simply.
Forgive when your wronged. Love even when it hurts. Seek out the best in people. Don’t spend so much time on how things could be, simply look at how they are and seek to make them better.
I spent 2014 trying to simplify the things in my life. Some things I’ve done have been very practical like making lists, focusing more on the majors then on the minors, and controlling both the mental and physical clutter in my life.
The goal really has been to cut out the things in my life that may be GOOD things, but aren’t GOD things.
Lesson Two: Anything worth doing is going to be hard… and may come with some disappointment.
In Luke 14 Jesus talks about the importance of counting the cost before making a big decision (He specifically talks about building a tower, going to war or becoming His disciple). But why? Because we need know the reality of what we’re getting into, and the reality of building a tower, winning a war or becoming a true disciple is it is going to takes time, hard work, and it won’t always go according to plan.
They’ll be setbacks, they’ll be days you have to recalculate or re-plan. And they’ll be days you just want to shut everything down and quit.
But the hard work will (eventually) pay off. And let’s be honest, if the things we are committing to are easy, they are probably not worth doing.
Having a great marriage is hard work.
Raising kids who grow in character and love God is hard work.
Pressing in and praying until you see a breakthrough is hard work.
But it’s worth it.
Lesson Three: It’s easier to give advice then to live by it.
As a pastor, I give lots of advice. I tell people things like “Trust God”, “God is faithful”, “God is your provider, not man.”
But last year came with some personal setbacks, some hurdles that I had to overcome. There were many times where I wanted someone to tell me the things I’ve told others.
But the truth is, I don’t need them to. Because all those things I tell others to encourage them are not just “feel good” sayings. They are truth, and my God is bigger and more faithful then any problem I could ever face.
I don’t need someone following me around all day long looking for opportunities to encourage me when I’m down. What I need is to keep myself connected to The Lord. I need to remember that I need his presence like I need oxygen.
I need to remember to live by my own “advice”.