I’ve been thinking a lot about what goes into having a “Good” year verses a “Bad” year. This last year for me is perfectly summed up in words of Charles Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”
I was with my nieces on Christmas morning (2011) when they got the news that their sister had passed away, so January began on a rather somber note. In Feb I felt like God was giving me the go ahead to quit my job of 3 years, and take a new job nannying part time. Saying goodbye to my co-workers who had become (and still are) very dear friends was bittersweet. The weekend before I started my new job I came down with bronchitis which lasted three months and caused me to temporarily lose at least 50% of my hearing. I have a new appreciation for deaf people! But even being sick, it was still great fun having adventures with the little boys I nannied. In March I got an email from my friend Angela letting me know that after two years of searching, we finally had found a teacher to volunteer as a sponsor for the program we wanted to run on a local highschool campus. I can’t even explain how big of a deal this is. Sometime when you have a dream and you have to wait two years for it to start happening, you wonder if you should just stop talking about it and assume it was no more than a nice idea. I’m so glad we didn’t give up! In April my brother got married to one of my dearest friends, Veronica. I may not have been able to hear very well, but I could see just fine and let me tell you, if you ever need help designing a vintage country wedding, Veronica Zimmerman is an expert. In June I got hired at my dream job, teVelde Music School. I call it work but it’s actually just fun. In September we re-launched our highschool program. My friend Angela had her baby a few weeks into the school year so I’ve been running things on my own for a bit. In October our sponsor (that we had waited two years for) emailed me that she didn’t have time to be a part of our program anymore and we would need to find another teacher to sponsor our club or else it would be discontinued. This came less than a week after our girls asked if I could start coming twice a week instead of once because they loved the club so much. Fortunately the girls were able to find us a new sponsor right away and we only missed one week of meetings. At the end of October, my brother-in-law got into a motorcycle accident and almost died. Actually he did die but they were able to revive him at the hospital. Prayer works though because he is recovering and will be able to come home soon. At the end of November I helped some of my closest friends in the whole world pack up their moving van headed for Nashville. I’m so thankful for the digital age we live in that enables us to keep touch long-distance. In December I got to help my boss put on our Christmas concert at the Clark Center, which was a blast. Did I mention that I love my job?
So all that to say, I’ve come away from last year with a few insights on how to have a good year no matter what your circumstances may be.
1. Do What You’re Good At
Working at Burger King taught me a lot of things. I think the biggest was not allowing other people’s opinions or negativity to effect my attitude or outlook on life. I was never good at multitasking which sucked when working in the fast food industry. Particularly because not being good at multitasking meant not being very good at my job, and when you’re not good at your job, your boss gets pretty upset at you. But I learned that you can’t allow the fact that you aren’t good at something to make you think less of yourself. I developed the phrase “I’m good at other things”, because no matter what I can’t do, there will always be something I CAN do. For me it was building relationships. With the customers and with my co-workers. Even now, almost a year later my BK co-workers still call me up to hang out or if they need help with something. Which I LOVE!
Ecclesiastes says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, [fn] where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.”
2. Save Money
Having a bit of money saved up is SO IMPORTANT!!! I don’t care what else your new years resolutions might be, MAKE SURE THIS IS ONE OF THEM!!! I say this because having some extra money in the bank has saved my butt so many times this year.
Proverbs says, “Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender.”
3. Keep Commitments.
When I was a kid in 4-H I would often commit to doing something or being somewhere and then later have to cop out because of not having a ride. I learned from a young age how it feels to know you’ve let people down and people can’t rely on you to keep your commitments. This has motivated me to never be that person, if it’s in my power to avoid it. I just have to tell myself that copping out is not an option. What better way to show someone you care about them than to do what you promise even when it inconveniences you. This principle has paid off in so many ways for me. I hope I never forget to live by it.
Psalm 98:34 says, “No, I will not break my covenant; I will not take back a single word I said.”
3. Be A Good Friend
Friendship isn’t about quantity, it’s about quality. Growing up I didn’t really have friends. Finally in highschool I had two pretty close friends and now that I’m older, I have a lot of “Friends” but only a handful of true quality friends. There’s a quote from Brian Houston that I love, “Embrace, Include, Enlarge, Inspire, Empower, Increase others”. That’s what a quality friendship does.
Proverbs 13:20 says, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
4. Finish What You Start
Being a procrastinator, this is more of a continuous goal than anything. But, I did finish several projects that I had outlined in my goals last year, and I’m so glad that I did! This blog is proof of that. For me, staying focused on finishing things often means turning off the computer so I don’t waste time on social media. I often remind myself of this scripture which talks about God finishing what He starts:
Philippians 1:6 “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
5. Do Something To Help Someone Else
It’s easy to be unhappy. All you have to do is keep focused on yourself. Self centered people are never happy. Do something to help someone else and ask nothing in return. And I don’t mean a short term hand-a-homeless-person-some-cash kind of help. I mean get down and get dirty with people. Sacrifice some of your time and money, give of your life on a regular basis to improve the life of someone else. If you’re a leader type, mentor someone, if you’re a helper type, find someone who could use a free hand from time to time.
Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
6. Read The Bible Everyday
In a society that wants to do away with absolutes, the Bible is the one thing that we can always count on. It’s always true, always right and always works. Every time. I like to read through the whole Bible every year. If that’s a lot for you, try just reading through one chapter of proverbs everyday. It will change your life. Read it. Live it.
Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
7. Write Down Your Goals and Post Them Where You Can See Them Every Day
I have my goals typed out and posted to my bedroom wall so I can see them and remember all the things I want to accomplish. There are lots of studies that show that people who write goals down are more likely to accomplish them. Habakkuk 2:2 says, “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.”