Here we are on New Year’s Eve, and several attempts to write stories since my last post this summer have remained conceptual at best with my never really getting past an opening paragraph written for any of those stories. So given my time constraint (it’s less than 6 hours until the New Year…), I’ll use the balance of the post here to share my reflections on the Year 2014 and “resolve” to tell more stories worth telling in 2015…
Though I could share my musings on a controversial topic, such as the happenings in Ferguson and New York City in the past several weeks, that would likely only serve to enflame further controversy particularly with those who perhaps who have opposing views to my own. Instead, I will try to keep this last post for 2014 a bit lighter and more introspective as I hope you have found my past stories to be.
I start by sharing the meaning behind the opening picture above and the acronym I jokingly coined WWJDD or “What Would Jerry Dickerson Do…”. The context for this came up when my wife and I decided to take a break this past August from meeting weekly with our “Growth Group“ made up of some dear friends who like us are couples with children of various ages. We get together every Monday to share the trials and triumphs of parenting, marriage and other family matters. I love and value these folks greatly and attribute much of my ability to be real and authentic here on this blog to the security I find in being loved and cared for as dearly as I am by these folks.
Having hosted/led this group in our home for nearly seven years, Leah and I thought it was time for a ‘sabbatical’. There were many reasons to justify this break but the main one I will offer here is that we both viewed it as a chance to focus more on raising our two daughters as they enter their waning years in public school. Our Growth Group understanding we were overdue for a break were very supportive in this decision to take a sabbatical. In my ‘farewell for now’… message to them, I posted the picture you see here as a way to help them laugh at how I thought I would be missed. The truth is, in so many ways, I’m certain that we have all grown all the stronger for the experience of Leah and I stepping out of the group temporarily. To say “… Absence makes the heart grow fonder…” is an understatement.
As God would have it, our vision of this being a ‘break’ changed when an number of different events occurred to change our focus from what *we* or specifically *I* wanted to get out of these fall months. These events would take too long to explain here, so I will leave those perhaps to some other future story worth telling. Suffice it to say, the wisdom comes from realizing WWJDD is for different than WWJD (“What Would Jesus Do”… and Did).
This past Sunday at church, our very own Pastor Dave Love took advantage of an opportunity to be our teaching Pastor. We have other designated Teaching Pastors who typically give the sermon so hearing Pastor Dave was a real treat to end the year. He gave a very meaningful sermon titled “I Resolve” which focused on the topic of how we go about making New Year Resolutions. An impactful illustration he gave was when he shared an “I” Chart, a play on the Eye Chart you use when you visit your Optometrist to check your vision.
As you see from this picture, it suggests that we often see the world through our self-centered point of view rather than how God sees it. It is this contrast in how we view the world that makes all the difference between our finding disappointment OR our finding joy in life. Not getting a key job assignment you worked hard for OR being able to afford the car you’ve always wanted OR not really getting the perfect spouse you thought you married are all found in the DOMAIN OF MISSED EXPECTATIONS where may be found all life’s DISAPPOINTMENTS. Conversely, being forgiven a wrong by a family member or close friend that you clearly deserve to be given the cold shoulder from OR finding hope in the diagnosis of cancer for yourself or for a loved one as others come alongside you that you never knew loved you or that person as much as they did OR seeing the silver lining in being passed up for a promotion or even losing a job you are not sure you even wanted are all found in the DOMAIN OF NEVER-ENDING HOPE where may be found all life’s JOYS.
Pastor Dave’s “I” Chart has remained a visual in my mind this past week and is the inspiration for this reflection. I am so delighted that I get such reminders as to avoid the trap of forgetting that it isn’t what I do as much as what God is doing in my life that really makes a profound difference in the lives of others. It is with this reflection that I invite you to take the year’s events, whether they be like those that occurred in Ferguson or those of your own personal life, and ask really what is God doing there and then ask what do you think that means to you personally. My hunch is if you view things through God’s “eyes”, that hopefully you will see that it is far more powerful to do the things that impact your local family and friends in a manner that helps you and them find the DOMAIN of NEVER-ENDING HOPE then it is to join the pundits who simply exacerbate those in other communities that are mired in the DOMAIN of MISSED EXPECTATIONS…
My hope and prayer for you all is that you find JOY in 2015 whether that is through the fulfillment of a desire you’ve long pursued or by overcoming some significant setback or disappointment that you may be currently mired in.
Until I get to share my next ‘story worth telling’, I bid you adieu and much love!
Happy New Year!