Are you a list-maker? Do you get great satisfaction in crossing off things accomplished on your list? The real question is – do you make New Year’s Resolutions each year even though prior lists have gone the way of the dodo bird?
One piece of singles advice I used to get regularly was, “Have you made a list of what you want in a husband?” And then, “Have you prayed over your list?” Another piece of advice: “Write letters to your potential future unknown husband telling him what is on your heart.” It didn’t dawn on me then that these pieces of golden words were almost always given by folks who had already walked down the wedding aisle. I took every word to heart and when it seemed that nothing was coming of all the effort, I assumed it was because of some great deficit in my character. Or worse, I assumed that God was teasing me with some sort of golden carrot just out of reach. Why else would He not be “giving me the desires of my heart?” (Psalm 37:4)
I have to say that I did write a number of letters to that future ideal husband, baring my heart and soul. When I discovered it was bringing more pain than hope, I stopped. They sort of fell into the genre of romance novels. There was always a “happily ever after” in both, and reality was that more often than not “happily ever after” didn’t happen – at least not the way I wanted. Both letters and books left my heart in a great empty closet which was full of sorrow and broken dreams.
So, where is my heart today? Well, some days I live with great contentment and joy. Other days, loneliness weighs heavily making it hard to breathe. As I read journals from years past, I can climb right into those empty spots and cry. What is different today is the realization that no matter how permanent something feels, it isn’t! Now, I can tell myself, “Have a good cry and then go wash dishes.” Having spontaneous lunches with good friends also helps, by the way. They put me back into the real world.
Now, on to the title of this post. What is a really good list of resolutions for us all? It can be found in Philippians 4:4-9. The apostle Paul is writing to his beloved church in Philippi, telling them (my summary):
Rejoice! Pray! Reflect God’s character in your daily life! Do not wallow in worry! Give thanks! Rest in God’s indescribable peace! Fix your mind on things which are true, honorable, good, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and ponder-worthy!
This is challenging, isn’t it? I know the more I determine to think about things of good report, the more I see the muddy elephant which sloshes through the room of my mind with reckless abandon. That is where I realize I am in the midst of a great war. Elephantine thoughts versus the much broader concepts of joyful living which can transform elephants into gentle giants.
Let’s hear it for the Gentle Giants!
Blessings to you, my friends!