by Jane Grafton
Merrillville, IN

December is always such a busy month with Christmas parties, family get-togethers, Christmas decorating, Christmas shopping, wrapping gifts, cooking, baking and so forth. Therefore, it always seems that a few days after Christmas is the perfect time for me to sort of “catch my breath” and “regroup.”

I am not one to make a long list (or a short list for that matter) of New Year’s resolutions. However, I do like to take time near the new year to look at my life and make sure that everything is in perspective.

Proverbs 27:23 says, “Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.” Now, I realize that most of us do not have real animals that are under our care. We do, however, all have responsibilities and duties. The Holy Spirit brought this verse to my mind a few days ago and it seemed to take on new meaning as I meditated on it in light of my situation,

My husband and I purchased a house recently. There was thick stucco on the walls in several rooms. Since we did not care for that particular look (in addition to the fact that dust collects in all the little ridges!) we decided that we would “just” scrape the stucco off the walls. We had no idea it would take the time and elbow grease actually required. I had originally hoped we could move in by November 1, but toward the end of October I moved my goal to December 1.

We have always decorated for Christmas on the day after Thanksgiving, but I decided this year that I would just wait. I was sure we could get our house done and be settled in for Christmas.

On Monday morning, November 27, as I was praying and reading my Bible, I became very convicted about my goal. I realized that I was becoming consumed with getting into our house before Christmas and that was fast becoming one of my top priorities. I was so consumed, in fact, that I began thinking of little else. It was during this time the Lord brought Proverbs 27:23 to my mind. As I meditated on this verse I realized that I may never even live in the house we have purchased. If something were to happen to me, what I did or did not have completed in the house really wouldn’t matter that much. However, my relationship with my husband, my relationship with Carissa, and the “state” of my routine duties as a wife, a mother, and as a Christian are the really important matters at hand. My friend, Carol Tudor, often asks, “Will it matter 100 years from now?” I realized it wouldn’t make any difference 100 years from now whether or not we had Christmas at our new house or our old house. It is the truly important duties of life that will matter 100 years from now.

It was at that moment I decided it doesn’t matter when we move into our house. What relief! I took a deep breath, and faced the day with a completely different mind set. It helped me relax and even take some time to find ways to help others in need. How it helped me to “regroup” about this situation.

I do not believe there is any magic in the new year. As I have just illustrated, we do not have to wait until New Year’s Day to get our lives into perspective. However, New Year’s Day is a very good time to assess our lives and make sure that our priorities are in order. The following is basically what I do during my regrouping time.

  1. Pray. I ask the Holy Spirit to control my mind in a special way to help me make right decisions and the necessary adjustments in my life. I claim James 1:5 which says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
  2. Confess sin. I ask God to convict me of that which is out of order in my life. I confess that sin and also ask for His power to have victory over my sins in the coming year. (I especially ask for help on my “regular” sins—those with which I seem to regularly struggle.)
  3. Meditate. I try to look at my life, at my relationships, at my responsibilities and at my duties. As I write these down, I try to think through to see if I am following Biblical principles as I live my day-to-day life. For example, is anything keeping me from my priorities of Bible reading, soul winning and prayer? Am I completing my husband and reverencing him as I am commanded or do I let other “lesser” demands come before Tom? Am I training Carissa or just giving her custodial care? I also try to think through what my husband and my daughter need most from me at this time. (People’s needs change.)
  4. Decide. I make decisions for the new year based on conclusions reached from my meditating.
  5. Pray. I ask God to help me keep in perspective and keep my priorities right. I also claim Psalm 65:11a which says, “Thou crownest the year with thy goodness.”

I am challenging you to take a few minutes to put these five simple points into practice. The first time I recall taking the time to do this was on New Year’s Eve, 1980, and my life was changed as a result as I made one of the major decisions of my Christian life. I pray for you to have a wonderful and blessed new year crowned with His goodness!