We’re a few days outside of Christmas Day and a few days before we get to the New Year!
We’re in that in-between space where we find ourselves reflecting on the events of the past year and planning, wondering, and praying about the new year to come. There can be a battle raging inside of us to make peace with our past decisions and to have hope for the future. We remember the dreams we had at the beginning of the present year and carefully but intentionally make declarations for a positive change ahead!
When you think about it, life has a lot of in-between moments: applying for and getting your dream job, the time between saying “yes” and saying, “I do.” Sometimes, the in-between moments aren’t so pleasant. Like waiting for a medical test result or looking at the family needs compared to the number of days until the next paycheck. The in-between moments, just like every other moment in life, have a specific purpose.
Those in-between moments are like using parenthesis in writing.
According to Grammarly, “Parentheses ( ) are used to enclose additional, non-essential information to clarify, explain, or add a side note in a sentence. Use parentheses to prevent disrupting the flow of a sentence.” For example, she is coming to my house tomorrow (around five o’clock) to help plant the garden. The sentence makes sense without the information in the parenthesis, but the information in the parenthesis gives us a little more information than we had before.
What if we treated the in-between moments of our life the same way? Instead of worrying about whether we will be selected for the position or promotion, for the housing, for the educational opportunity, what if we used the time in between to seek clarity on the information we already have?
Worrying about tomorrow, or what we think may happen, or even what we hope will happen, is counterproductive and leads to stress and anxiety. And guess what else? It doesn’t change anything about our circumstances outside of the things that we’re able to control. The Bible reminds us in Matthew 6 not to worry about tomorrow because tomorrow will bring its problems!
So, first, let’s take a moment to breathe. Just stop and breathe deeply. Most of us have an app on our watch or phone that’ll take us through deep breathing steps. While you’re breathing, focus on your breath and be grateful that you can breathe deeply (without the assistance of a machine). Exhale stress and breath in life.
Next, focus on what’s good. Can you walk, talk, see, hear, smell, taste? Can you move your limbs? Can you stand up or sit down? Are your children playing, walking, running? Then you, my friend, have the blessing of health. It may not be perfect, but there are certainly people who would love to be in your shoes.
Is there someone who you can encourage? Maybe it’s just by sharing a smile or saying hello to someone you don’t know. Maybe you compliment someone on their hair or their outfit. Perhaps you hold the door open for a stranger or say a kind word of encouragement to an overwhelmed store clerk or restaurant server. When you do those things, you’re walking in your purpose! Your life matters! You may never know how your small act of kindness can bless someone’s entire day, change their demeanor, and encourage them.
Finally, since you have breath, then use that breath to take time every day to be thankful. It’s good to think about your gratitude, but it’s even better to say it out loud. Try it. Just say, “Thank You, Lord!” Thank you for a new day, for clean air to breathe, for the ability to dream, for keeping me, and for giving me hope! Thank you for the little things in life that we often take for granted. Gratefulness is a little key that opens big doors! It’s the difference between seeing the information in the parenthesis as wasted, unnecessary information and having an expectation that every day that you live, your life experiences are teaching you something new and valuable. The question is, will you receive it, and will you apply it to your life?
My prayer for you in the new year is that every day, you will look for the hidden treasure that God has placed in your path and that your day will be filled with hopeful expectation that through Him, you will discover it!
Happy New Year!
Sisters Sharing With A Purpose