Believe it or not, we have made it through another year. 2017 came and went faster than any year I have lived so far. There were good days. Bad days. Sad days. Days I'll remember forever. And days that will soon fade away, as if they never existed at all.
It has been an eventful year, to say the least. While it's brought many good days, it's also bought a lot of rough ones. It's left America: Broken. Bitter. Angry. Offended. Unhappy. Cold-hearted. And very, very divided.
Regardless of your political beliefs, religion, race, gender, culture or city, this hasn't been the brightest of years. There was the biggest political uproar, probably ever. There were destructive fires, floods, hurricanes, and tornados that left many homeless. There have been multiple mass shootings on our own borders, leaving lost lives and much fear to linger. There have been riots, destructing towns and taking many more innocent lives. There have been countless suicides, leaving family members wondering what they could have done better. There has been a steady stream of sexual assault cases, of those we never imagined doing such a thing. There have been troops continually fighting, with even more lives lost. There have been more protests than ever, leaving bitter hearts, poor judgment and little to no understanding. There have been racism and gender upsets. EVERYONE is offended over absolutely everything, which has led to making everything "politically correct." And division... oh, how everyone has become divided this year.
2017 has left many hopeless. It's led many to give up. It's left broken hearts, anger and grief. And it's left many to wonder if 2018 will continue to be a downhill and losing a battle in the war to bring goodness back to this ever so chaotic world.
However, despite all the bad, I'm left with hope. Hope that there are better days ahead. Hope that 2018 will lead to less hate and more love. Hope that our people will become united again. Hope that there really is still good left in this world.
In making my resolutions for this new year, I have decided on a more practical approach. I've decided instead of making a list of goals I know I won't ever likely reach (because by February I'll have forgotten them all), to be intentional about the more important things in life. The things that don't cost any money, but are each worth so very much in bringing GOOD back.
On that note, here are my 10 *FREE* New Years Resolutions for 2018.
1. Love more
This one seems quite simple. We are programmed to love. It's easy to love. It's free. And here's the thing about it, there is always more love to give. Hating won't do any of us good so I'm choosing to love MORE in 2018.
2. Judge less
We judge so often, and much of the time it's unintentional judging, our minds automatically pick out and judge those who may not look or act as we do. Instead of looking at the outer appearance of those around me or the actions I may see them do and choose, I choose to look deeper into what's on the inside. Because one can be beautiful all day long on the outside, but one with a beautiful inside will go far. I chose to be so quick to judge in 2018.
3. Become more present
In the age we're in, everyone is consumed with a little gadget that fits in the palm of our hands. We're constantly on it, even while we're with those we love or doing something we enjoy. We may be present physically, but we aren't present in any other way. I'm preaching to myself and that's why in this new year, I choose to lay aside the iPhone more often to become present in every way.
4. Be kinder
Kindness is a lot like love. It's easy to do. Yet, we don't choose to act on it very often. We're so rushed, we forget to ask the cashier how her day is going. We forget to smile at the 77-year-old man smiling at us. We forget to tell the girl beside us that she looks really pretty today. Kindness is so simple. It just takes opening your mouth. I choose to slow down and be kinder in 2018.
5. Offer a hand more often
There's so many who can use a helping hand. Offering time is free. It doesn't cost anything to volunteer. It doesn't cost anything to hold a door or help a man with a walker load his groceries. So many people in our everyday lives need help. I choose to seek out the opportunities to offer a hand more often in 2018.
6. Laugh more
Life isn't always about being serious. A good laugh can make anyone feel better. It's free therapy... Laughing makes the stress and worries of everyday life go away for even just a mere second. So I choose to laugh more in 2018.
7. Forgive more freely
This one is a bit tougher. We aren't so programmed to forgive, we carry around grudges and we hold onto the hurt done to us. But... Forgiveness is free, it doesn't come at a cost because Jesus already paid it for us. People are going to hurt us and I'm not saying to allow anyone toxic to be in your life. What I am saying is, not only will the one you forgive feel better, but so will you. Grudges can get awfully heavy so I choose to forgive more freely in 2018.
8. Become more intentional
In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we often forget what this life is all about. It's not about making loads of money, driving the nicest of cars, wearing the priciest of clothing or having everything else life has to offer. It's about living with an intentional purpose. It's about intentionally loving with all we have. It's about using our time intentionally, to better this world. It's about intentionally being a person who is making this world a better place. I choose to be more intentional in every way in 2018.
9. Use my voice for good
In a world full of people using their voice to slander others, spread rumors and to express hate, I choose to use mine to spread love. To spread kindness. I choose to be more educated when I speak and to be sure to hear others speak too, even when they don't say the things I choose to believe. I choose to use my voice for good when I open my mouth in 2018.
10. Pray more
Most importantly, I choose to pray more. Because putting into action all of the other resolutions will do a lot of good. But without prayer, I'm on my own in doing each of them and that's a scary place to be. I choose to listen to God speak and to act whenever he says act. This world will only grow better when people meet Jesus. He truly changes everything.
Alone I can't do much, but together we can make 2018 a better year to live in, if you make your resolutions intentional and good for all around you.
Happy New Year!