Saturday, January 1, 2011

January Editor's Letter

I love the feeling of starting a new year. Even though it’s just the day after the last day of the previous year, it’s still an opportunity for a fresh start and a chance to improve all of those things I want to improve in myself—exercise more, cook healthier meals, keep the house cleaner, save more money—the same things I’ve been trying to improve (with various levels of success) for years.

This year I’m going to do something a little different. I’ll still have my other goals, of course, but I’m going to add something to give me overall guidance in everything I do in 2011. I’m going to have a “Bible Verse of the Year.”

The idea was inspired in part by what I think was my favorite book this year, “The Happiness Project,” by Gretchen Rubin. The author says she was not unhappy, but wanted to focus on the things that really mattered to her.

As part of that quest, she created a theme, with associated goals, for every month. One of my overall themes will be using my time more wisely. (I’m still deciding what my monthly themes will be; I’m writing this December 22 so I have over a week to decide).

I have been praying about how I spend my time, and asking God to help me make the best use of my time. At this point He is not leading me to cut out any activities in my life. Until and unless I get the guidance to do so, I’m going to focus on making the best possible use of the time I have.

Then I received an e-mail devotion which turned out to be one of the front page articles of this issue of the Nebraska Family Times. “Don’t Overthink It” really spoke to me because I’ve always had the tendency to worry about things—which is a way of overthinking them. The Bible verses that author Rachel Olsen refers to in the devotion have always been some of my favorite.

All of these things—thinking about what I want to accomplish in 2012, trying to figure out how to better manage my time, and reading “Don’t Overthink It”--inspired me to decide to have a Bible Verse of the Year, which will help me to accomplish all of these things.

I’ve chosen Philippians 4:6-9, the same verse that Rachel Olsen used in her article. The verse is printed in a box on this page so that if you’d like, you can cut it out and hang it on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror and refer to it daily, too.

The verses will remind me to turn to God rather than worrying. And during the day I will ask myself if I am focusing on the right things, doing the right things, and thinking about the right things—things that are pure, lovely, excellent, praiseworthy, commendable, worthy of praise, true, and right. (These descriptions are given in different versions of the Bible). If not, I should be doing or thinking about something else. Analyzing what I’m doing will help me to cut out activities that are not helping me achieve my goals.

I plan to write or type the verses several times so I can have a copy in my office, kitchen, bathroom, purse, etc., and read them throughout the day. Consider finding a favorite verse and using it for your “verse of the year”!

Remember Christmas last year? We had one of the biggest blizzards in years the week before Christmas, and another on Christmas Eve. Many, many families didn’t get to spend Christmas the way they usually did. We missed Christmas Eve church for the first time in many years. It doesn’t sound like we’ll have to worry about snow this year!

I’m excited to have my family all together again for at least a few days! God and weather willing we will all go to church together this Christmas Eve, and celebrate the birth of Christ with our church family and friends. I hope you will do the same. And I hope all of us will remember not to just celebrate His birth and life on Christmas, but every single day of 2011. With Him, every day can be a new start, no matter what the calendar says.

I hope to hear from readers in 2011! God bless you and your family in 2011!

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