Happy New Year! Yes, 2012 has arrived, and as I read the news, 2011 has not been all that bad for us, especially here in Canada. According to MacLeans magazine Canadians feel like they live in the best country and are just downright the envy of the world! Now I am not completely gullible either. I realize that for some, 2011 has been a tough year – one wrought with continue struggles and chronic challenges. It’s all a matter of perspective.
For myself, 2011 has had more than it’s fair share of challenges and tough circumstances (many of them related to church life). In some ways, 2011 could be compared (at least emotionally) to riding the Behemoth roller coaster. Extreme highs immediately followed by death-defying lows. Ask those who have to work with me or live with me and you will soon discover that I’m not the easiest guy to be around…at times.
God has been leaning hard into me over the past…oh, two weeks or so. Not hard in a bad way, but just that he won’t leave this alone: “How about changing your approach in 2012?” I know what he’s talking about. It’s how I approach my situations and circumstances that I find myself in.
He’s adamant that I cannot change people or circumstances – they are not going to change just because I want or need them to change. I need to fuhgeddaboutit! God is asking me to stop praying or asking him to change my circumstances, and instead to ask him to change me.
When you think of Jesus’ teachings, it makes sense. Jesus never promised that he was the ‘saviour’ of our circumstances, but of people. He’s the Saviour of my heart – I should pray for my heart. That’s probably what it means to pray according to his will.
Right now I am seeing the faces of the people that intersect my life on a daily basis – those that are closest to me. As I think about them in the light of asking God to change me, it’s wild how I think of them almost instantly changes! (Try it)
I’m not one to make resolutions at the beginning of a new year – mostly because I end up not following through. However, if there is one resolution that I can make, it’s to pray for God to change me and not my situations.
This past Sunday I led those who had gathered for worship through the prayer of St. Francis. I had read this many times before, but this Sunday for the first time I meant it.
I dare you to take the challenge!
- Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
- Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
- Where there is injury, pardon.
- Where there is doubt, faith.
- Where there is despair, hope.
- Where there is darkness, light.
- Where there is sadness, joy.
- O Divine Master,
- grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
- to be understood, as to understand;
- to be loved, as to love.
- For it is in giving that we receive.
- It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
- and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.