This is my first newspaper article of the year. If this were published on the internet, it would be a blog I suppose. I never thought I would ever be a “blogger,” but I digress. There is a subtle tension to publish some thoughts as we usher in the year 2016 to be encouraging everyone, including myself to improve by resolution and goal setting. How did you do with last year’s resolutions? Did you reach any goals? I hope you did.
Beyond the year 2016, what will life hold for us? Perhaps because I am nearing the end of the “mid-life” phase of my life and moving ever closer to the next stage, whatever that is, I am pondering what am I going to do with the time I have left, which I hope is a very long time.
Being a person who is thoroughly convinced that life is a result of a creator and not a random cosmic “accident,” I believe that this creator has purpose for everyone, including me. By knowing the Creator better and better, I begin to understand His purpose for me more and more. With the time I have left to live (did I say I hope that is a very long time?), I want to focus in a greater way on living out that purpose and encourage others to do so as well.
Depending on how you think of the Creator and His relationship to you, it might skew your understanding about what His purpose for might be. More than ever, I am discovering that the One who created us created us to thrive in this life. Every effort on His part is to help us win in life. His purpose for us is to thrive and to help others to thrive.
Sometimes we don’t understand this and misinterpret the efforts the Creator put in place to help us to thrive. When we do not understand the purpose in His blueprint for winning at life, we only see rules and restrictions or some system to make us feel superior to others. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Everything that the Creator put in place for us is for our good. If we don’t understand that about Him, we can easily suspect His motives and accuse Him of ruining our fun and pleasure.
The blueprint for winning at life is what is most commonly known as the Bible. In it you will find everything we need to know to live a life we enjoy, grow stronger in mind, body and spirit and thrive in life. Here is just a sample of what we can discover:
James 1:17: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”
If you discover that our Creator loves you, wants good for you, you can believe this and begin that journey to thriving in life. He wants to give you the gift of winning in life.
One of my personal goals this past year was to improve my health. What I was doing naturally in terms of eating and exercise was not improving my health. It was a process learning to reverse this. What was once a list of rules and restrictions on what I could eat and couldn’t eat and how everything I naturally wanted to eat was bad and everything good to eat was things I didn’t naturally want to eat, is now a blueprint for allowing me to thrive in health. I am learning what to eat, learning to eat less. I am learning how to exercise in a sustainable way and more. I am still learning. I am learning to live differently and I am benefitting by it. I feel better and my body is gaining in strength.
Feeling better in my health is one part of learning to thrive. Learning how to think in a more healthy way, learning how to be a better husband, father and friend is a wonderful part of this “learning curve” of purpose the Creator has for me as well as you. I find much help and encouragement in the Creator’s blueprint for winning in life. It is much different than a list of rules and restrictions or some system of propping up my ego. As I understand the blueprint better and as I understand better the One who gave it to us, I see it as powerful insight into thriving in this life and helping others to thrive as well.
This isn’t about just me, it is about us. You can join this journey of learning to thrive in life. It isn’t an exclusive club, it is for anyone who is thirsty for more life than what you are currently experiencing now. Join us!
Rev. Stephen Brown serves as Pastor at Kenai New Life Assembly of God.