The ‘Resist!’ post was supposed to be something else.
I initially intended to post about discipline, self restraint, usual January 1 subjects. Resolutions, plans, changes to make, etc. I still have minor resolutions — lose the remaining pounds, improve my personal style — but my biggest resolution is, I feel, the most important and best one I have ever imagined.
My resolution for 2015 is to learn to live graciously and gratefully.
The first definition of gracious, according to dictionary.com, is pleasantly kind, benevolent, and courteous. Another is merciful or compassionate. [The other definitions, from the same source, are characterized by good taste, comfort, ease, or luxury, and indulgent or beneficent in a pleasantly condescending way, especially to inferiors. I'm not going for those two definitions. Well, perhaps good taste; I did mention improving my personal style just a moment ago.]
Being kind, benevolent and courteous to each other is part of the Golden Rule (Treat others as you would have them treat you), and part of the second Commandment (Love your neighbor as yourself). I would argue it’s also crucial to the Great Commission (Go forth and make believers of all nations), as it’s very difficult to present a good argument for God, as it were, if you’re a jerk. A respondent on a survey I saw at work wrote "One bad employee can make the whole team look bad!" One rude, inconsiderate Christian can make all Christians look bad — "Why would I want to hang out with more of you people? Is your God a jerk, too?"
I have three more reasons to develop a healthier, more courteous outlook and life, and their names are Azrael, Jordan and Danica. I want my girls to approach the world with love, not hostility and pessimism, which has been my way for far too long. Granted, major chronic depression makes for an uphill climb for happiness, but it’s not an excuse for being a jerk and rude to others. At any rate, I’ve got medication for it now. 🙂
However, as I listen to NPR and read the news, I know that giving my girls rose-colored glasses might not be best for their safety once they’re adults. Some skepticism is best, for it enables one to sort through what is garbage and what is truth, and protects from some dangerous situations. Skepticism need not be pessimistic, though. Plus, a ‘Debbie Downer’ attitude works against making positive changes in the world. To make changes, you need hope that changes can happen.
I hope that I can overcome my own ‘natural’ disposition towards ungraciousness, and learn to live better.
And how hard can that be, really? I have much to be thankful for, and pretty much no reason to be so critical and angry. [At things that I shouldn't be angry about, to be clear. There is much in the world to be angry about, but this is not the post for that discussion.] I have my health, a warm and safe home, a loving husband, three wonderful daughters, a good job, and two cars that currently work. 🙂 Instead of wasting my energy fretting and cursing (sorry, Mom), I resolve to work towards giving thanks and helping others.
One resolution. It’s more than enough.
Philippians 4:5-7Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
5 Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.