Well, it’s the beginning of a new year which generally, for many people, means a time of reflection and setting goals and plans to accomplish those goals. I just so happen to be one of those people. In 2016, I’ve set a theme for what I want to accomplish – Selflessness and Service.
As I’ve looked back on the past year I’ve been able to recognize that the times when I was happiest and most successful was when I was more focused on other people and their needs instead of myself and the things I’ve needed to get done. Sometimes, I seem to forget that what makes me the happiest is making other people smile. It’s easy to take for granted those things we see and do and have every day – food, clothes, technology, etc. But it’s almost always the simple things that lift people’s spirits – an unexpected inspirational note, a letter, a meaningful gift, time spent together. Anything that really just shows genuine love and kindness.
Why do you think it is that we’re asked to serve others? Why are we taught to stop judging others for their looks, circumstances or families? Really now. Think about it. Why do we ever do anything in the Gospel?
….Think some more….
Alright, I’ll tell you:
Yup. It’s that simple. Love is at the center of everything.
At first, the reason I choose to serve others is because I love God. But because I choose to serve others, the reason soon becomes because I love them.
Service teaches me to be like God because it strengthens my understanding, my faith, my love and my hope in everything I’ve ever believed in. It teaches me more about who God is and what He’s like. How can we become like something we don’t understand or know? If we don’t know who God is, how can we ever expect to be like Him? How does He expect that of us?
In order for me to progress and accomplish the goal of becoming like God, I’ve decided to have an entire year where I learn to focus on others more than myself so that it won’t just be something I do for a year, but something I do for the rest of my life. That’s kind of the point of any goal – to make us better than we were before, to change the world for the better by changing us and the lives of those around us.
So this year, I challenge you to make at least one goal that will change the world (by changing even just one person’s life). But don’t make the goal and give up after a few weeks. Make the goal and then set plans and checkpoints to work towards accomplishing it. It takes time to achieve a goal, and patience and faith and hope. Don’t give up on something just because you haven’t immediately accomplished it. Don’t give up on your goals because you’ve ended up taking a few steps in the opposite direction. Life is meant to have trials and setbacks – so we can learn from them, set goals and become stronger than we were in the beginning. Think of your own career or educational goals: Did you give up after not getting into one school? Did you decide to be done after someone told you that you didn’t have enough knowledge or talent to get to your dream career? Of course not! You took the steps of learning and developing the skills required to achieve that goal or dream. It works the same way with New Year’s Resolutions.
I have one more thing for today: In order for us to accomplish our goals, we have to have some help. So don’t give up on someone just because they’ve had a few setbacks themselves. They’re struggling and trying just as much as you are. None of us are strong enough to go on alone. So today, notice someone’s needs and do what you can to help them accomplish their own goals. I promise that will, in turn, help you accomplish yours.