When November hits, my mind begins to gear up for the holidays. I find myself thinking about plans for Thanksgiving, our family Christmas card and which travel arrangements must be made. It’s easy to jump into a vortex of shopping, planning, decorating and cooking. This November though, I made a point to have a bit of quietude, and to examine the days God gifted me this past year.
The year began with great plans and hopes, (it’s easy to be determined in January). There were days of success at work, amazing time with family and among friends, but naturally, there were other areas which had become derailed. I bemoaned those failures and uttered the dread words, “Oh well, I can start again in January”.
My bright idea of reviewing the past year was about to send me into a tailspin of negative self-analysis. It is at this point I knew I had a choice to make. To fall into an emotional slump or stand up and try a different approach. Here is a short excerpt from the book, “Three Little Decisions” that helped me choose.
At a morning devotional group, I heard a woman speaker share the words of Jesus, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. And love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-39.) In reference to this passage of scripture, the typical question is posed: how can we truly love our neighbor if we have so little love for our self? It’s a fair question, but on that day, she added an interesting twist to our struggle with self-love. She said, “Stop bullying yourself about every little thing”!
Her comment caused me to lean forward in my chair, as I considered this fresh perspective to such an endemic thought. I was struck with her admonition to stop the negative talk, stop believing the worst and learn to love the way God loves. With utmost certainty, I know I am not alone in this battle against rampant self-bullying, against those voices in my head saying, “I’m not good enough, thin enough, strong enough or spiritual enough.”
Our tendency to be self-critical, (to bully ourselves), overshadows our confidence and the damage is impossible to measure as it blows in those evil triplets of self-doubt, insecurity and uncertainty. Overcoming these voices involves a decision to disembark that bully-express and board a different train of thought.
So, I’m trying a different approach.
What if, instead of believing myself to be a failure, bullying myself with negative comments, or waiting until tomorrow to do better, I decide to thrive and grow, today? My choice is to be strong today, to do what is right and to do my best. That way, I’ll finish this year stronger by doing better today. Like the quote, we start today to make a new ending.
Here is my take-away: I am not who I hope to be, but who I decide to be. Today.
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24. God gave me this one day, I’ll make it great!
It’s my choice.