Okay, it's been a busy couple weeks here with Christmas and New Year's, but tomorrow school starts, so the normal routine will click back into place. I thought I'd take a moment out and welcome the new year.
Looking back on 2010, it was one of the hardest yet most blessed years of my life. God has taught me so much. I remember back in January of last year wondering if things would ever change, and boy, have they ever. Some of those changes didn't seem too great at first, but I can see God's hand even in the hard and painful things.
I can't get over all the answered prayers and very cool ways God has worked in my life. It sort of blows me away. I have no idea what 2011 holds, but I know that God holds me, so I don't need to worry about it. :)
This week will be my final week with my Character Makeover Bible study. The past two weeks have been "Contentment" and "Generosity" which I thought rather interesting during this time of year. I love it when God is ironic. :) Contentment has been something I've struggled with over the years - not money and stuff, but where I am and what I am doing or not doing as the case may be.
But generosity and greed were not things I really thought I struggled with all that much. Quite honestly, while I think I could be a better giver (don't we all?), I don't really envy people their big houses or their stuff. We'll drive by some big mansion and my kids will say "Wow, what a cool house." My thought is that I'd really not want to have to clean that monster! lol Bigger houses and more stuff just mean more stress - to me anyway. I'm not saying I don't have things I'd like to have (a laptop computer comes to mind) but they are just that - wants. I'm fully aware of how blessed we are financially compared to the rest of the world.
However, God hit me with a 2x4 this week about greed and generosity in a way I never had thought about before. I have always equated greed and generosity to be about money and stuff. But it isn't always. We can be greedy about our time, our youth, others approval, and a wide variety of things that have nothing to do with money or possessions. On the flip side, we can be very stingy with things like compassion, mercy, grace or just giving people some slack already.
When I was reading about what we think we really want will actually bring us, a light bulb came on for me. I am greedy for approval. Being a people-pleaser is something I have struggled with for most of my adult life. I don't think it is a bad thing to be kind and want others to be happy, but when you get greedy for it, when you crave it, it can be a real problem. In that list I mentioned before, the thing that stood out to me was that I thought approval would bring me happiness and self-worth.
The truth is the only person's approval I NEED is God's, and I got that the moment I accepted Christ as my Savior. See, that is another thing that struck me this week - God approves of me - who I am. Yes, I sin and He doesn't approve of everything that I DO, but sinning is what I do, NOT who I am. Because Christ's righteousness is imputed to me, when God looks at me, He sees someone who has been made whole and righteous. I'm a saint. People who know me might be falling off their chairs laughing right now, but I didn't say it - God did.
This leaves me free to be kind and loving to others without expecting anything in return. It is a completely freeing and wonderful feeling. Every year, I come up with a "theme" for the year. This year's might very well be the name of this blog - Free Indeed and living like it!
~ Blessings in 2011, Bronte