Deciding to make changes to the better doesn’t have to be done only when we’re approaching a New Year. Changes can be done anytime when we are willing to. Nevertheless, I commit this time to just having a quick review throughout my year in 2013, while giving God full access He deserves to bring good changes in me everyday (not only during first weeks of every New Year) 🙂
Entering 2013, I remember I made somewhat like a ‘mission’ called as ‘2013 Project’ inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s book (intermezzo to “Happy New Year 2013“). The point is, I’d like to see some good changes related with four main practical life aspects; those are “Time, Money, Talent, and Relationships“. My effort to journaling every insights I gained in this blog regarding those aspects simply DIDN’T WORK. Hahaha… Well, it only lasted until month of February, my apology. However, sitting here once again twelve months after, I can say God truly has brought some major changes related to those four things! Once again, the changes haven’t reached any perfection yet in me, but here I just want to share how life experiences within the last twelve months has been making me see things in renewed perspective than before.
From those four aspects, I can say that I gain most changes in the “Money” and “Relationships” aspects. Regarding “Money”, I receive much deeper revelation than “less is more”. Sure I learn to spend my money wisely and limit things I ‘want’ and prioritize on the family needs instead, but not until for the last few months I see this whole money thing from a different angle. If you read my earlier posts during the last few months, I’ve written how we had been struggling with our finance to the point that we had no idea how we could afford paying for our important bills. During those difficult times I learnt to rejoice for basis needs that God has fulfilled. For the food, the shelter, choice in clothing (while many unfortunate have to stick with the only clothing attached to their body), for friends and community, even for clean water to drink and have a shower! How could we forget to give thanks to those basic needs, when we only want to give thanks to God if He fulfills our wants? I call it as “giving thanks selectively” to God, in which we only give thanks to God if we have things we want. For example, only giving thanks to God when we could have that branded bags or shoes, for a new laptop, new camera, new car, new mobile phone, or else. I can see now that those things are only “bonuses” from God. I had times when I envied those who could get things they wanted easily. But now I see as long as I can pay the bills on time and have my basis needs fulfilled, those have been SO MUCH to rejoice! God is so good even the basic needs He provides to us are more than enough. I give you one example; I don’t have to feed Aimee with canned soup, I still can make it from fresh ingredients plenty in my fridge! It’s not easy to live against the stream of the world filled with materialism and consumerism and I admit it’s hard at times for me too. I still have many unfulfilled desires and wants and every now and then I “complain” to God saying why can I have things easier, why some people seem to have both money and God? (e.g. rich believers hehe…)
I become to wonder what does it mean when Jesus said that He can give me a life, and a life that is abundant? What is an “abundant life” means? (Oh, btw, that is one of my prayers as I’m entering 2014, to have God reveal the answer to that question personally for me in the next year). When life nowadays is very much centered on “having plenty of possessions and wealth” even in many Christians’ life, you start to wonder why your life is not abundant in that kind of way.
When our life is “OK” and we have enough saving and financial security, we don’t really give a thought to “God is our Provider”. Sure a good Christian must know God is the Provider of his job, salary and things he can buy with it. Yet many times it can also be very subliminal for him to think that he can buy things because he has the power to…? Only when I’m weak, I can see that only God is strong. When I’m “strong” (judging by physical things we posses in this world e.g. things going well, enough saving and security, being healthy and wealthy), I tend to see God’s strength lesser, dimmer. Do you understand what I mean? I know God is strong, God is my Provider; yet only to the point that I am in shortfall, I truly see that He really is. What an important life lesson for me.
Then to the second aspect of “Relationships”, I give thanks to God that through a marriage bible study I had between July to October, He has brought many changes in me in seeing and treating my husband. To cut it short, I don’t bother to spend my energy to nag on my husband to speak the same love language as I do anymore haha.. I don’t expect him to buy me things or give me surprises anymore (note: my love language is “giving gift” while his is “act of service” :P). Just because he doesn’t speak the same language as I do doesn’t mean he doesn’t love me. I now can appreciate more of who he is, not someone that I hope he could be. It’s OK for me that he is also not a romantic man. Thinking that earlier this year these ‘simple’ things could ignite a “war” between us (because my ego didn’t want to let go of my ‘demands/expectations’, my ego wanted him to treat me ‘right’ the way I wanted to) and how throughout that bible study Holy Spirit could make me ‘suddenly’ willing to let go of my pride and expectations – WOW. God’s word is truly powerful in changing someone’s heart and how this has liberated me so much! Indeed, His truth set me free 🙂 It feels as if tons have been lifted up from my heart since then! (tons of selfishness and pride).
Before I end this, I’d also give a short review over the other two aspects “Time” and “Talent”. Earlier this year I was struggling to not be satisfied just by “eating bread crumbs” (what does it mean? you may want to read this earlier post “Mommy’s So Much of a Better Mommy When She Spends Time with Jesus”) The point is, I was struggling to find time to be intimate with God in my daily life. Even when I was in church, I could not sit and focus on listening to God’s words without being interrupted since I still had to take care of Aimee. I felt my devotional hours were irregular and could not get ‘feast’ on God’s words and presence, so I was only left with “breadcrumbs” (reading bible verses only randomly, praying casual prayers, for example). Then thanks a lot to God, He provided a way for me to be back to a disciplined life of seeking God’s words and presence! I’ve written this experience in this blog too (“Returning to Our First Love With Jesus… How?”) I learn that to know God more needs discipline. Yes, the Holy Spirit can give us the desire, but our flesh also must want to cooperate with His prompts too.
Lastly, on the “Talent” part, hmm.. maybe nothing really much on this part? Other than I’m writing this blog more regularly and managing to be more honest in my sharing. Is writing my talent? Maybe. What I know I just love writing and sharing through my writing. Not trying to be the “21st century’s C.S. Lewis” but just want to be ‘me’ in writing, sharing my own life and thoughts (things I know best). Then, I’m also glad that I and my husband can re-join the Praise & Worship team in church this year after was being absent in Jakarta while I took a break after having Aimee. Other than writing, I always love singing and music, too. So I guess it’s just my natural ways to serve God with the passions He has put in my heart. My principle in this “Talent” thing is, even if God only gave me one talent, I will make the most of it. I used to compare myself with those who are more talented in a way. But yeah, then God put that conviction in my heart and I’m content and happy 🙂
Thank You so much Lord for these changes in my life! One thing I realize as I’m writing this post, those changes are only the result of His works in me. My own will and effort mean nothing without His power to make them real. I can only give thanks for His goodness and faithfulness in my heart.
Indeed, you don’t need New Year to make a new resolution. God can change our life in any day of the year, as long as you are available.
But still I think it’s also the best time to just sit still and think of where we want our life to be going, rather than moving directionless 🙂
Have a cheery New Year’s Eve, everyone!
Thanks a lot for those who have been super supportive for my blog and my passion in writing, God bless you all 🙂