Reflections for the new year

It is my hope that each of you made lots of memories during Christmas this year whether it was different or like other years. For me, it was one of the better years as everyone was well. I always overdo the cooking part but cut back a little and we didn’t have as many leftovers, thank goodness.
I was in a baking mood and made several desserts, more than usual and everyone got to take some of them home. David was in a bread baking mood. He always makes homemade rolls and did this year but also did several loafs of French bread which were quite a hit and the kids almost fought over who would take home those leftovers. I brought trays so each one could take some of the candy home. I love cooking, just not the cleanup so much though I try to clean as I go.
Seems I had a little more energy this year and for that I am grateful because at Thanksgiving I was down in my back.
For the last few years we have tried to do different things to make things fun. One year it was Christmas socks, one year it was Christmas sweaters and this year we did Christmas pajamas. Each family has different ones and we take photos.
This year I had all the kids tell on video what Christmas means to them and the adults shared their favorite Christmas memory. My oldest daughter asked why I was doing this. Because years from now they will appreciate it. It included my mom and stepdad and I wish I had been doing this sooner.
As the new year comes, I do not do resolutions as I feel this sets you up for failure if you don’t make them. I do reflect on the past year however and count my blessings. We are not only entering a new year but a new decade.
Many are glad to see 2020 disappear. It has been rough in many ways but praise God, we made it through. If anything it has taught us that God is in total control. Personally, I learned just how easy it is for the government to control people and how quickly our freedoms can be taken away. I’ve also learned who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk genuinely. That fact has also brought some disappointment in people but I remind myself that our faith and hope is not in people.
God has put people in my life and removed some this past year which has made my immediate circle stronger. When there are people of faith to encourage you and stand courageously with you in prayer, it makes a difference in your life. If you don’t have these people I pray God sends some to you.
I also have had to truly realize not everyone is going to like me, nor will I like everyone. Doesn’t mean we can’t get along or show respect to each other. We don’t need to gauge our self-worth on people, but on God who created us.
Let’s all leave 2020 behind with positivity and hope. We don’t need to forget the lessons we learned but don’t need to wallow in any defeat. Never let anything that happens steal your joy in the Lord. That’s the one thing God has told me over and over this year. That joy in Christ is my strength and no one can take it away from you unless you allow it.
Lamentations 22-23 reminds us, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” In contrast, Jeremiah was lamenting in the earlier verses but he is still grounded in God’s love for him which is never-ending.
It’s great to make plans in the future, but really, we need to take it a day at a time and begin each morning with an attitude of gratitude. Hold your future plans loosely, and trust in His plan for your life. Remember to keep Him in your planning and don’t get lost in your planning.
While a new year is a chance to start over, in actuality, every day is a new chance to begin again. It’s all about perspective.
Let’s all strive to be kinder this year. None of us know what anyone else is ever going through. A smile can make a lot of difference to someone.
If you still have your parents, praise God for them. They won’t be around forever, just ask someone who has lost theirs. Endeavor to talk to them more this year.
Healthy eating is important as eating regularly. I struggle with eating most days as I get busy and forget. I’m striving to do better as not eating is not good for you.
While we should love others and be kind, we should not always bend to other people’s wants and needs. Self-sacrifice can be noble but as my dad used to say, you can’t set yourself on fire to keep other people warm. It’s not really selfish to take care of yourself. I don’t know why we’ve been taught that it is.
We do need to know when to ask for help and not let pride keep us from doing so when we truly need it. Asking for help doesn’t make us any less accomplished or reduce our worth one bit.
Other people do not owe us anything. If we quit expecting things in return, we will be pleasantly surprised by people. Don’t do things expecting others to do the same; you’ll always be disappointed if you do.
I’m striving to not be so hard on myself, as I am my own worst critic. I’m human and that means I sometimes fail. Dwelling on it does nothing so we have to accept it, forget it and move forward.
None of us are happy every single day but that doesn’t mean we still can’t be grateful. Sometimes, no matter what, we just experience sadness. But again, we can’t dwell in it. And remember that happiness isn’t some future destination. We are as happy as we decide to be and knowing that our eternal home is in heaven should make us quite happy more times than not.
No year is really ever easy. There are always challenges and obstacles to overcome. It’s how we react to those challenges and how we deal with the obstacles that really matters. Don’t let them defeat you or change your attitude.
Another lessons I’ve learned this past year is that change is inevitable on some levels. I’m not one that likes change, but learning to embrace it makes it a little easier and having an attitude that I will get through it helps.
We tend to sweat the small stuff too much. How many times do we worry and fret and then everything turns out okay in the end? It always does so don’t fret over things that don’t really matter a hill of beans.
Life itself is full of uncertainties and things we cannot control so don’t worry about tomorrow or this upcoming new year. Just trust God’s plan for your life and that what happens is meant to be; perhaps for your growth or as a lesson. Learn to be content no matter which season you are in at the time. And learn to be mindful of the words you speak to yourself and others. Words do matter. Speak words of life to everyone, including yourself
No matter what happens in this new year, keep telling yourself that the best is yet to come. Happy New Year! May God richly bless each of you. ©2020

VICTORIA SIMMONS Is a columnist, author, motivational speaker, minister and publisher of The Georgia Post/Byron Buzz. Contact her at: vsimmons54@gmail.com

About vsimmons54

Veteran journalist of 40 years. Editor, Motivational Speaker, Ordained Minister, CEO of A Light in the Darkness Ministries, Copy Editor, Copywriting, Event Planner, Lensclusive Photography, Babbling Brook Consulting and Design, event planner and author. I love to write and speak and I love Jesus. I also do copy writing and editing. Recently co-authored Vanished Towns Revisited.
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