December 31, 2012 by Dusty Dean
As 2012 slips into the history books, I find myself sitting by the fire with my wife with you on my mind. You are on my mind because of what this year has the potential to present in your life.
Here are 13 things that I’ve learned in 2013. Some were sweet and simple. Some were painful and complicated. Some will serve as gentle reminders to ideals that you are already aware of. Some might strike a chord in an area of your heart where you have yet to attempt a song. Some I’m still learning every day. My only prayer is that they will be things that you forge into your own life with purpose and meaning to be all that God has created you to be.
13. Life is fragile and was intended to be lived well.
In 2012, I lost a friend and joined our students as we mourned the death of Josh Hernandez. Outside of my grandfather, Josh’s death has been the most meaningful and the hardest death that I’ve ever experienced. It was Mark Twain who said, “The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” Josh’s death is a reminder and a motivator for me to squeeze every ounce out of life possible. Happiness is not a goal…it is a by-product of a life well lived.
12. Righteous anger gives no room to bitterness.
There have been a lot of things in 2012 that have made me angry. But righteous anger releases itself without sin and then moves quickly towards opportunities for forgiveness. Bitterness is like a cancer. It eventually eats away at the host until there is nothing left. But righteous anger is like a fire. Sometimes, it can burn things until they are clean. When angry, speak slowly and refuse a big stick.
11. Go with the flow. God knows more than you know.
In 2011, I literally freaked when the doctor revealed that we were having a little girl. 15 months later, my life has changed in such a powerful way because of my daughter. God has softened me through this little person. Now, I know that God knew exactly what we needed better than we did. Why do we worry about such things when we serve a God who knows us better than we know ourselves?
10. Your attitude matters.
Philippians 2:14 teaches believers to “Do all things without complaining and disputing.” Serving with the wrong attitude is just as bad as not serving at all. Your attitude reveals the condition of your heart. Do it cheerfully.
9. Authentic generosity knows no conditions.
True generosity is doing something for someone who can never repay you.
8. The dreams you desire are just around the bend of hard work.
There is simply no substitute. Make it your resolution right now that you are going to work harder in 2013 to see your dreams fulfilled than you ever have before. God has given you a capacity. You now have a responsibility.
7. The best gifts to give are the ones that you go out of your way for.
In 2012, I got a gift for a friend that was a real pain in the rear to acquire. It was probably one of the coolest moments that I experienced when I gave it to him. The length that you are willing to go for the benefit of others is the amount that you’ll be blessed in return.
6. Choose grace over judgment.
God is far more a God of graciousness than He is a God of judgment. Time and time again, when God’s people prayed to him for compassion, He extended it even when he knew that some would not turn towards Him. Living your life the same way will do more for you than it would ever do for someone else.
5. Wisdom and morality usually travel in pairs.
There are immoral people who are wise…there just aren’t many. Before choosing to allows someone’s words pierce your heart, take inventory of the way that they live their life.
4. Never compromise your character in the pursuit of progress.
Some avenues will be more appealing because of the short cuts that they provide. The problem is that I’ve known many short cuts that actually ended up taking me longer than what I originally thought. Enjoy the journey and run the race towards your destiny without compromise.
3. One day at a time.
The children of Israel were fed in this manner. “Give us this day our daily bread.” Too often, we worry so much about tomorrow that we lose today. Life in the moment and be present. My greatest obstacle to this is my phone. It’s the greatest distraction that keeps me from being fully present. Don’t get so far ahead of yourself that you forget to keep today in front of you.
2. Allow your platforms the gift of honoring the Lord FIRST!
We all have platforms of influence. Social media has allowed each and every one of us to have a voice. Use your voice to honor the Lord first. When you choose to tithe the first of your gifting, you show God that you realize that your platform was given by Him in the first place. One of the greatest ways you can honor the Lord is by showing him that He matters most in your realm of influence.
1. FOLLOW THROUGH!
How many “resolutions” did you actually fulfill last year? Your life is too important and its impact too meaningful for you to make yourself commitments that you don’t uphold. The most important commitments that you make are the ones that you keep to yourself!
That’s quite a random list, but they are all things that the Lord is teaching me and growing me through at the moment. I hope that perhaps one or two meets you where you are! Happy New Year. Let’s make it matter and make it meaningful.