As I enter this new year, as I do every year, I like to reflect on the past year and of course look forward to the new. It is so easy to look back on the year and see only the negatives. Maybe your health wasn’t as it should be, your finances are in a mess, or perhaps you’re lonely and depressed. Who knows what it might be, perhaps it was worse, maybe a death in the family or bankruptcy or loss of a job. Any number of things can make us dwell on the negatives and not see any of the blessings God has provided.
Going back to my previous post, We are what we think, dwelling on the negative does you no good. In fact it accentuates the negatives and brings what might just be a minor setback and carries it throughout your life.
Take for example a job loss. Not only does that bring financial difficulties, but it can also bring about feelings of lack of self worth and depression. This can affect you not only mentally, but physically by raising your blood pressure, causing headaches, or worse. Look up the effects of stress on your body and you can see the damage it can do to your health.
I personally struggle with stress and view it as the cause of most of my health issues from my bad back, high blood pressure and other issues. Half the battle is realizing it, but it is still a major roadblock in my personal life.
What I tend to forget however, is how truly blessed I am. Paul writes in Ephesians 1:3 about our spiritual blessings.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
Also in Matthew 14:13-21 we read how Jesus provided for the needs of over five thousand with five loaves of bread and two fish.
These and many other places in the Bible let us know how much God cares for us and how he will provide for all our needs (not necessarily our wants though).
Counting my Blessings
Let me reflect on this past year and not focus on the negatives of the past and not even on the negatives to come in 2011, but instead let me count my blessings and see how much God has given me. I think if you sit back and spend the time to do the same, you’ll be amazed at how greatly you truly were blessed in 2010.
- My Family – God has provided me with four awesome children. My children are truly my pride and joy, I love them more and more each day and while they can try my patience at times, as we all did with your parents (sorry Mom and Dad), I can’t fathom the joy the bring me as I watch them learn and grow. I watch my oldest turning into a young man, my daughter into a beautiful young lady and my two younger boys loving life and becoming best friends with each other.
My wife, who is the love of my life, my best friend, my girl friend and my life time partner in this crazy world. She puts up with my crap and still loves me. She provides me stability in my chaos. She is the strength in my weakness. I love her more and more each day.
- My health – Sure as I get older, I notice things about my body that I think, “Oh crap, I’m getting old.” I look in the mirror and see my hair disappearing, but I look at that as a bonus as my hair cuts are shorter and I use less shampoo. I had some major back issues this summer which had me laid up for almost a month, yet it provided me with plenty of time I needed to slow down and reflect on my life and the direction it was heading. I also was able to catch up on my reading!
Despite my problems, minor compared to others, I wake up each morning, which is a blessing in itself, am able to get out and live life to it’s fullest!
- My job – I’ve been self employed for almost 10 years now and while it’s had it’s peaks and valleys and there is a whole separate level of stress that someone who has never worked for themselves as their main income will never understand, I feel blessed that I’ve been able to continue to do what I love for this long.
Business has been slow this year, in fact so slow that it has caused some troubles and issues that are not that pleasant, yet my family has yet to go hungry and I am thankful for that. The slowness of the economy and the effects on my business has also been a blessing in disguise as it’s forced me to reevaluate how I market my business and services and has pushed me to be more aggressive and proactive in gaining new work.
- My finances – Well let’s just say this is really my lack of finances. The slow economy has hurt my income and cash flow enough that while we are still eating, there is little left for anything else. Again this has been a blessing in disguise. My wife and I have learned to do with less, we’ve learned to shop smarter, handle our finances better, and have learned to focus on priorities and rid ourselves of some of the dead weight that is a drain on our finances. While we still have a way to go, we are blessed by having to make these changes.
- My friends – I’m blessed beyond belief with great friends. I won’t name any personally as I’m sure I’ll forget some, but I’ve met new friends this year that have become a great blessing to my wife and I and indeed to my children as well. Thank you for all you do and I look forward to our continued friendship into the new year and of course the business opportunities we’re always thinking up.
Also to my old friends that have been there through thick and thin, through bountiful times and thin times, those friends that bless our lives each and every day. God has put all of you into our lives for a reason.
I could go on and on about the many blessings that I have in my life, but the one thing that I want to remember through all this (and the one thing I hope my readers take away from this), is that God has blessed us all beyond belief, even though these blessings may not be obvious, step back from your troubles and look at how they can positively impact your life and the lives of those around you.
I look forward to 2011, the many things I’ll learn and my growth while writing this blog, and to the many friends I hope to meet on here.
I would love to hear your comments and thoughts on the direction of this blog as well as how God has blessed you this year!