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Archive for January, 2014

With the turn of a calendar page, gobs of people are embracing the opportunity to start fresh. Whether on our own, or together with others, we resolve to change.

To lose weight. Get organized. Spend less, save more. Enjoy life to the fullest. Stay fit & healthy. Learn something exciting. Quit smoking. Help others in their dreams. Fall in love. Spend more time with family. (These were the most popular 2014 resolutions for Americans, according to the University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology.) And those are good things to embrace!!

But this year I’m more captivated by the desire for a change of heart.

You see, my attitude seems to have some sort of chronic disease. Intermittent flare ups of anger, pride, and even greed sprinkle their poison on my mind and heart. It’s uncomfortable. It’s ugly. And it’s wrong.

..I work in a retail pharmacy environment, which will remain nameless, easily interacting with a couple hundred people on any given day. My job functions as part of a large team of people who ultimately fill and dispense medications to people of all ages and backgrounds. Rich or poor, healthy or ill, kind or belligerent… they all seem to make their way through our doors. Sometimes I think God created the perfect environment to grow and stretch my character in this place. Perhaps that is why He still has me there..

 

When I…

  • have to apologize for someone else’s mistake (a doctor that wasn’t faxed, an insurance claim that wasn’t sent, etc), I’m tempted to get frustrated.
  • get yelled at for that mistake, I’m tempted to get angry.
  • end up fixing that mistake, I’m tempted to get annoyed (or bitter, if it’s a continuing pattern)
  • ignore the fact that I make mistakes too, I’m tempted to get proud.
  • see coworkers move very slowly, take deceptively long breaks, play on their phones all day, or in general rely on me to work extra hard to pick up their slack, I’m tempted to get angry.
  • hear coworkers talk about how they’ll spend their seasonal bonus (something I don’t receive yet), I’m tempted to get envious.
  • hear coworkers talk about their good fortunes, I’m tempted to get jealous.
  • join others in the break area, I’m tempted to ignore their gossip rather than confront it.
  • think about my position, which is essentially an unskilled labor role, and the degrees I’ve acquired that aren’t being utilized… I’m tempted with pride, thinking this position is beneath me.

These temptations so easily sneak up, grab hold, and (if I’m not careful) then burrow their nastiness into my heart. The bible says out of the mouth, the heart speaks (Luke 6:45). Just as a cherry tree doesn’t grow string beans on its branches, so an infected heart doesn’t produce a person who is kind or loving. Proverbs says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (4:23, NIV). Yikes!! Luckily, God is the ultimate master of heart transformation and daily health. I love the prayer of David in the Psalms:

“Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” (51:10-12)

God is so generous in his grace and love for us. He continues to renew us when we ask him — I’m so thankful for that!! God told the Israelites who’d been exiled for shedding blood, worshiping idols, and turning against him that he would bring them back into the promise land, make them clean, and bless them for the sake of his name. I love the picture of renewal and restoration that God uses in talking to them, this is the kind of renewal I want, too! : )

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)

I really, genuinely enjoy and care about all the people I spend my days with, and I honestly believe that it’s no accident that I am where I am. Lord, please help me make the most of the time you have me in this place… Help me to love well and give grace in the present, and to trust you completely with the future. As I walk with you each day please take what’s so easily turned to stone and make it a heart that is soft and fleshy again. Amen!!

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New Years resolution statistics from here: http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/

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