disappointed resolution-ists.

New Year’s Resolutions. Who needs them? Who wants them? At least that is how I have always felt about making resolutions at the start of each year. I recently read that only 8% of new year’s resolutions are ever even achieved, so I must not be the only disappointed resolution-ist!

It seems that every year upon prompting, I set out to identify areas of needed improvement in my life, but instead, I find myself scrutinizing my body, my habits, and my entire being. A routine intended to be a healthy self-check can take a turn for the worst very quickly if we are not careful.

Our focus can easily shift from a godly view to a worldly view of ourselves, and that is a danger zone, my friends. When our focus changes, everything else of importance follows; our perspective shifts, our purpose loses definition, and our sense of self-worth diminishes. Moral compasses fail, and peace and joy are no longer within our reach.

Why are we so often swayed by the world and left disappointed with ourselves?

Perhaps you can relate to this: The resolutions that I can recall from years’ past were not always achievable.. or exactly practical.. or God-honoring. To be honest, my resolutions often centered around changes I thought I needed to make to meet social standards.

Have you ever resolved to change your physical appearance or alter your personality with an end goal being to “fit in with the popular crowd” rather than to make  improvements in your overall health or social skills?

Social media “likes” and thinner thighs may bring temporary joy, but the elated feelings will soon fleet when the next best thing or new social standard arrives.

Know that the glitz and glamour of the world will not last, nor will the joy that we find in material possessions and accomplishments. Turn your focus to God, the source of everlasting peace and joy. His love never fails, and you can never disappoint Him. Seek His will for your life, and He will guide you to paths of better ways.

In January, I was itching for a fresh start to the year but saw no value in setting the typical resolutions. Instead, I sought a new approach for 2018 and started by examining the word “resolution.”  I asked God for a new definition that held actual purpose and meaning in my life. Gradually, God revealed the freshest word to my heart! Here it is:

    Think of “resolution” in terms of a camera and the photographer adjusting the lens to capture a picture with the best clarity and the finest detail and the most brilliant colors. The photographer can see the whole scene, the full expanse of the setting, but the viewer can only see what is captured through the camera lens. Not every picture taken turns out well, but a blurry picture does not lessen the beauty of the setting in the eyes of the photographer.

 God is the photographer, and I am the viewer.

      I can only see moments of my life at a time. The pictures I see of my world are not always clear and beautiful; but sometimes they are. Those moments where I can view breathtaking beauty remind me who is really in charge of my life. God is the photographer; he chooses when to adjust the resolution and which photographs to display. He asks me, the viewer, to simply trust his judgement, because I know that he sees the whole picture!

Anytime I think I have received a message from God, I perform a check to ensure that God was the sender and that my interpretation was accurate.  Paul warns that “even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14, ESV), so I trust that my request for a verification or a clarification will not offend heaven! Most often, this case included, I find confirmation when my message aligns with scripture. After all, it is God’s written word. Here is my confirmation: √

“The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.” – Proverbs 15:3, ESV

Now it is your turn. How will you make a God-honoring resolution this year? Remember that each day brings a new opportunity, and there is no better time to start than the present!

ESV = English Standard Version Bible


merry and bright.

We all have our favorite Christmas movies, songs and traditions… the ones that really make the season feel right! For some, it is not Christmas until cookies have been baked or wreaths have been hung. For others, the season has not yet arrived until cards have been mailed and wrapped gifts are under the tree. My holiday season officially starts when I light the fireplace and watch Irving Berlin’s White Christmas [for the first of several times during the month of December]!

I do not recall the first time I ever saw the movie, but every time I do, feelings of happiness and contentment wrap me in warmth like a blanket. I love the storyline, set in the post-WWII era, the character plot, and all the song and dance throughout the 1954 film.. especially when Bing Crosby sings ‘White Christmas!’

My favorite line from the tune, “may all your days be merry and bright,” sets the tone for the season.

Something about White Christmas simply elicits a sense of anticipation not only of the holiday season, but also of a new season of life, as new romances bloom and old friends reunite. Two former Army soldiers team up in a song-and-dance act following the war and following two lovely sisters, end up at a small ski lodge in Vermont for the holiday. The men’s former General owns the lodge and is struggling to make a profit in a ski resort with NO SNOW! The men not only bring their entire cast to Vermont to rehearse a special holiday music show, but they also invite every soldier and his family living in the region to join them for the Christmas Eve production to surprise the General.

I tear up every time as I watch the gleaming-eyed General tell his men that their PRESENCE is the best Christmas PRESENT he has ever received! 

What a gift! These men packed up their families and traveled on Christmas Eve to surprise and support a man they loved. Can you imagine? Talk about putting others’ needs before your own…

Their selfless act of kindness reminds me of Jesus’ words to his disciples:

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” -John 15:12-13, ESV

With a careful eye, we can see the love of Christ weaved into the storyline of this secular movie. Everyday life is no different. Holiday times tend to be busy with lengthy to-do lists and endless activities. We so easily lose focus of the true meaning of the season in the hustle and bustle.

Peace and joy are ever-present, but I do not always feel the peace and joy of the season until the holiday is nearly over. Is it even possible to make our days merry and bright, or are those just words that we sing?

Surely you can relate to my dilemma!? I believe the answer is quite simple and requires that we DO LESS rather than do more. Yes, I am suggesting that we actually reduce our to-do lists and our engagements and spend the time enjoying the present moment. That is when we will experience merry hearts and bright days. It is far easier to see a bright light when we are not looking directly into a mirror. Slow down and look around you. Take it all in, and search your surroundings for glimpses of Jesus. His light is shining everywhere; we just must stop and see it. Find that light and let it be your guide into this new year, this new season of life.

I leave you with the words of the prophet Isaiah, as he offers encouragement to the Israelites as they prepare to move into a new season of life and anticipate the coming Messiah (Jesus Christ the Lord). I encourage you to take a moment and let these words pour over you. Let them sink deep into your soul. Then your light will shine as you beam the radiating love of Christ to others around you!

“Arise, shine, for your LIGHT has come, and the glory of the Lord SHINES over you. For look, darkness will cover the earth, and total darkness the peoples; but the Lord will SHINE over you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to your shining brightness. Raise your eyes and look around.. Then you will see and be RADIANT, and your heart will tremble and REJOICE.” -Isaiah 60:1-5, CSB

May your days truly be merry and bright! Happy New Year!

ESV = English Standard Version Bible; CSB = Christian Standard Bible

snow day.

I woke up to picture-perfect snow falling outside my window this morning! Huge fluffy snowflakes captured my fascination as they slowly drifted down to join the thick blanket already covering everything in sight. Like a child, I dressed in layers and ran outside to play, with both my cocker spaniels leading the way! Worn out, I have since enjoyed the gorgeous view by the fire inside, with dry clothes, warm coffee, and two sleeping dogs.

You see, snow falling is a rarity in central Mississippi, and snow that sticks long enough to accumulate is even more rare.. a Christmas Miracle, if you will! Truly, these several inches of white fluff are a special blessing to a [deep] Southern girl like me!

There is just something about seeing the world covered in white! It is so quiet and peaceful and still. The normal hurried sounds of the day are absent as though the world has slowed its pace. The contrast of browns, greens, and yellows against the pure and simple white create a beautiful tapestry unlike any other in nature.

I love the feeling of freedom that envelops me when snow falls. It is a freedom to just be, to stop and rest in the amazement and joy, and to slow down and savor the beauty surrounding me. As nature tends to do, as I stop to appreciate my surroundings, my thoughts turn to God. I see His hand in each snowflake that falls and stare in wonder as they gather and rest on tree branches without overwhelming or breaking them. The harmony of it all is simply breathtaking. I cannot stop staring at the world around me!


Perhaps this state of harmony is how God intended the world to be? Perhaps He longs for us to see the beauty He creates in nature more often and to rest in His peaceful calm?

This snow-covered day gives a deeper and fresh meaning to a favorite verse of mine:

“BE STILL, and know that I AM God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” – Psalm 46:10, ESV

Psalm 46 celebrates Zion (the coming city of the LORD) and God’s plans to bless all the earth with His majestic presence. All wars will cease, and peace will rule the nations.

Be still, people of the earth, and welcome the coming LORD! Let God’s peace fall down upon you like snow. Let the blanket of white cover you and the quiet calm envelop you until you can truly rest in the real presence of the LORD.

Take time this Advent season to JUST BE STILL! Take in the beauty of the snow (if you have any), and allow it to calm and soothe you. Remember that God created time. He will not let you “get behind” because you have chosen to pause and be still in His presence; rather, He will bless you with snow flurries of joy and peace as you go about your day!

[NOTE: More to come on the season of Advent in upcoming posts! Stay tuned!]

ESV = English Standard Version Bible