New Year’s Resolutions

I have to admit, I’ve never really liked making New Year’s Resolutions.   So many times, I’ve felt like they are totally unrealistic statements about what we’d like our dream world to be and there is very little that actually blends with the reality that is life.

I’ve read a number of things this year that are changing my perspective about New Year’s resolutions.   Rather than the mindless setting of unrealistic goals that aren’t going to have a chance of succeeding, they are proposing a different outlook on the process……

  • Don’t make unrealistic goals and then set yourself up for failure.   We all fail, we all screw up.   Actually, thanks to Christine Moers, I was able to learn that screwing up can actually be an opportunity for growth and for healing.   So don’t hide failures.
  • Set goals that have more to do with experiencing life, enjoying the times, falling forward when you screw up and deepening relationships.
  • Enjoy the in-between times.   The times that aren’t really bad, aren’t really good but just are.   The waiting times, the times that are often hard for those of us who are very impatient.   Thank you Jeff Goins for that.

My prayer is that 2014 is a year where we all see God, we all see our roles as His people more clearly and that together we make the world a better place – in both small and big ways.

I hope you’ll approach 2014 with a similar outlook.

And may you have a deep, realistic, screwed up, enjoyable and God filled New Year!

Tom

Feel Like You Failed?

From Anne Voskamp: “How in the world do you step hopeful into the next year when you tripped messy through the last year? How do you stand brave with all the smiling rest and ring in the new year when the old year still feels a bit like a millstone around the neck? What if everyone else is making New Year’s resolutions and you just want New You solutions?”  Read the whole post here.

I have a confession to make.   I’m an Elder in my church (no that’s not my confession) and one of my biggest struggles with and at church is that so many people are experiencing pain and struggle – and so few of them are saying anything about it.

Adam and Eve were told that from the time they sinned, the world would be full of struggles and challenges (to put it lightly).    So, feeling like you struggle and trip up and mess up shouldn’t be so unusual.

More from Anne: “We are all going to botch it some days. We all sometimes get the notes wrong. But the song only goes wrong — when we keep thinking back to the wrong notes.”

So, when you look back at 2013 and look forward to 2014, don’t keep thinking about the wrong notes you hit, the mistakes you made, the problems that didn’t get solved.   Instead, fall forward.  Keep pushing forward, keep trying.  Pay attention to the notes you got right.

And, as Dori said in “Finding Nemo,” “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”

Tom

Change the World – in 2014

January 3, it will officially be 3 years that I’ve been working full time on behalf of the children in Haiti.   It’s been a very difficult, wonder-full, God filled, terrible, challenging emotional and extremely spiritually enriching three years.   And I wouldn’t trade it.

Well, I wouldn’t trade most of it.   🙂

When I started in the position, my view of my job was that I was there to raise money for the orphanage.  Technically, that’s still true.

But that’s only half, if even that much, of the story.   In reality, my job is to change the world.   My job is to help people realize that God is calling all of us to care about the children who have no one to care for them and to provide ways that people can live out and act on that calling.

I plan on laying out some aggressive challenges in an effort to change the world in 2014.   The kids depend on us.

Stay tuned…..

Tom

A Chance Meeting? Nah……

So, if you are a friend of mine on Facebook, you might have read a story I wrote a while back.   I was working at a local coffee shop (getting some stuff done before going back to the home office).   There were two guys sitting at the table next to mine and when they finished up, one of the guys came over and said to me,  “Excuse me, can I ask you a question?   Are you involved in running a ministry?”   So, I explained to him that my role is to raise support and funding for an orphanage in Haiti.   His next sentence has stuck with me for a long time – “God told me to tell you that everything is going to work out.”

So we talked a bit more and I thanked him for that and went about the rest of my day feeling a bit more secure and assured that “God’s got this.”

So, jump forward to tonight.   My wife (night shift nurse) is at work.  My 12 year olds have youth group tonight, so I’ve got 2 hours all to myself.   Normally, I would have either gone home or gone to the Biggby that’s relatively close to our church.

But tonight, I didn’t.  My younger 12 year old had some library books that had to get returned today.    My wife was going to drop them off on the way to work but my daughter neglected to bring them down in time.   So, I told her I’d drop them off after I brought them to youth group.

Since I went that way, I decided that rather than go to Biggby, I’d circle around and go back to my favorite spot, Panera.

I walked into the upstairs at Panera and this young guy was walking out.   He turned and looked at me, “Hey, I know you.   You’re the guy I met a few months ago with a ministry in Haiti?   How is it going?   What can I pray for for you?”

So we talked for a few minutes, I told him that probably the main prayer request I would have is for faithfulness.   Pray for faithfulness for the adoptive parents who are struggling, pray for faithfulness for those who support our ministry financially.   Pray for faithfulness for our staff and volunteers.   The devil is fighting hard to wreck the lives of these children and we need people to continue to fight faithfully on behalf of “our” kids.

He shook my hand, thanked me for giving him the opportunity to pray and said that he would continue to pray for our work.

1 minute.   If I had gotten to Panera one minute later, he would have been gone.   If my daughter had brought her books down in time, I would be at Biggby and wouldn’t have met him tonight.   If……   If……..

This is no coincidence.  God had it planned and because of that plan, I had the opportunity to hear a total stranger tell me that he’s going to be praying for the kids in Haiti, for our staff and praying for me.

God is good!  All the time…….

Tom