Are you relieved 2012 is in the rearview mirror? Do the headlines have you apprehensive about 2013?
Here are five daily disciplines to make this your greatest year:
1. Rise thankfully.
“Are you having a good day?” I asked a bank teller. “This morning I was able to place my feet on the floor,” she replied, breaking into a smile. And I knew immediately that I was talking to a woman who had discovered the joy of cultivating an all day attitude of gratitude.
Each morning when we rise we choose to either be grateful or grumpy; pouting over yesterday’s problems or praising God we’re alive and able to live another day.
2. Pray expectantly.
Most people pray; especially when going through tough times. Since many of these praying ones don’t expect answers to their prayers, they keep fretting over their problems even after they’ve asked God to solve them. According to the Bible, we can pray and believe and receive or pray and doubt and go without (James 1:6-7)
3. Speak kindly.
Through the centuries, careless and cutting words have wounded hearers and brought regret to those who spoke them. Churches have been divided, family ties broken and friendships torn asunder by unkind words harshly spoken. Many unpleasant memories have to do with words; some spoken to those we love and others spoken to or about us. Let’s trade all cross words for kind ones this year.
What we say reveals what we’re thinking; what we’re really like on the inside. Kind words flow from kind hearts. Knowing this, the Psalmist prayed for the words of his mouth and the meditations of his heart to both be acceptable to God (Psalm 19:14).
4. Forgive quickly.
While the guest speaker at a church, I stressed the importance of forgiveness. Five years later, I was invited back to the church to speak while the pastor was away. Following the morning service, a woman said, “When you were here five years ago you talked about the importance of forgiveness. I needed to forgive someone but didn’t do so. I want you to know that this morning I have forgiven him.” It was a bittersweet moment. I was pleased to know the woman had experienced the joy of forgiving but sorry she had waited five unhappy years to do so.
5. Work worshipfully.
Some work to make a living; others live to work. Wise ones make every hour of work an experience in worship. One of the greatest discoveries in life is learning our walk with God is not to be limited to one day a week or one place that seems worshipful: “And whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord and not to men” (Colossians 3:23).
The next time a friend extends a hand, saying “Give me five,” remember the “five that make you thrive” and apply them to your life.
Roger Campbell is an author, a broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.