Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year’s 2016: Part 2 Shape Your Life:

New Year’s 2016:  Part 2  Shape Your Life:
Is There Room for the Light of the World in Your Life?!

We concluded Part 1 of this article with the observation that, “So, while we all want the freedom to make our lifestyle choices, we need an inner compass to point us in the right direction to make the best and healthiest decisions.”

But, where do we find such an essential inner compass?  When Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem, she was ready to deliver her baby. The timing for making such a long, difficult, and obligatory trip (~ 90 miles), while Mary was nearing the end of her pregnancy is certainly not a choice that most of us would make. But Jesus had to be born in Bethlehem to fulfill prophecy, and God orchestrated things to make certain that Mary and Joseph would be in the right place at the right time. There Bible is filled with accounts of God moving people into the exact location and at the precise time they needed to be there (e.g., Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Moses, the Israelites, the prophets, and the apostles). Some had visits from angels and signs from God; others listened for ‘the still small voice’ within (a.k.a., the Holy Spirit’s prompting). Some made choices based on knowledge, experience, and discernment—the Bible refers to the combination of these characteristics as “wisdom.”  Common sense is another important element. Sometimes Christians act and react in a manner that totally ignores common sense. However, my husband often reminds me (and others) that “Christ came to take away our sins not our brains.” 

So, then, how do these three factors (i.e., God moving people into the right place and at the exact time they need to be there, listening to the ‘still small voice, and using wisdom and common sense) relate to possessing an inner compass to aid us with our decision-making?  And are there other elements to consider? Yes! Jesus admonishes us to, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself,’ ” (Luke 10:27, New International Version). As we keep these areas of our lives nourished—heart (emotions), soul (spirit/spirituality), strength (physical/body) and mind (intellectual thinking and learning)—we enjoy the balance that we seek. Thus it is essential to regularly evaluate our lives to determine if any of these areas is out of balance and to make any necessary adjustments.  When we combine an active focus on these areas (i.e., heart, soul, mind, and strength) with having faith that God will move us into the right place at the exact time that we need to be there, listening to the ‘still small voice, and using wisdom and common sense, we will have a strong inner compass. And while we are being guided by this inner compass, our lives are infused with the balance of peace, hope, and love that the Light of the World—Jesus-- provides. Then, wherever we go, we carry that Light within, and we offer that Light to others so that their lives can also be overflowing with the elements that bring equilibrium to our lives.

While you are shaping your life, via the choices that you make, ask yourself, “Is there room for the Light of the World in my life?” This is the first step toward living a life of greater stability.  Also contemplate how you will share the Light of the World with others. I’m not suggesting that you hand out tracts or preach on street corners (although you may do so if you wish). Many times a smile and a friendly ‘hello’ open up doors for us to offer encouragement and hope to others, in His name and for His glory.  And, as we begin a New Year—2016—I pray that our inner compass directs each of us as we make choices that will result in better health and balance in our own lives and that we share this practical wisdom with others via offering the Light of the World to transform their lives, too.  Many blessings!

Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Salvation Army Officer

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