New Year, Better You
1. Love with all your heart
There is so much love that has been “lavished” (1 John 3:1) on us, that the Lord has given freely not only for our own consumption but also to be poured out to His people. One of my friends once said “if we love people with everything we’ve got, we’ll have nothing left not to love people” and this is such a solid foundation on which we should base how we treat people. In everything you do this year, make it your mission to show God’s love to people.
“When I went to secondary school I always found that gossip lead every conversation, and so I began to just walk away from my friends every time it started in order to do something else more useful with my time. Soon, they started to notice and asked me why I never joined in so I told them honestly that I didn’t think it was fair to talk badly about people behind their back and instead we should always be building people up. They were pretty taken aback but accepted my opinion and I began to see a change in our conversations.”
What a powerful and brave conversation Kate had with her peers, and what an amazing outcome!
Peter tells the church in 1 Peter 3:8 “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.” When you are struggling to see your purpose or don’t know what you’re going to do when you’re older, remember that we are ALL called to bring people into the love of Jesus and that it should be our number one priority.
You should also use this love in the way that you invest in your friendships this year. Use your time, your patience, your kindness and the amazing love you have received to show your friends how much you care for them. Soon, they may begin to question the different love inside of you than everyone else and that sparks some precious conversations about the overflowing love of Jesus.
Things to try this next week:
You see that person sitting eating their lunch by themselves? Invite them to join you, or go and join them. No one deserves to eat lunch without company and you can be such a light to the people around you when you show them what inclusive (including everyone) love looks like.
Be like Kate and speak out when you see something being done that isn’t loving, and don't be afraid of the consequences - God is right behind you every step of the way.**
2. Dream BIG and be BRAVE
Did you know that YOU are the daughter of the most high King? Jesus died so that we “may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10) and we shouldn’t waste that by that being afraid of the future but by stepping into it with freedom and boldness.
How? Reach for the sky because His endless, unconditional love is the limit (the amazing secret - there is no limit). Take steps of faith by counting on him to help you on the way. If you want be some kind of doctor but are struggling with science, don’t let anything hold you back but instead ask for some extra help from your teacher. If you want to be a gymnast, don’t let people tell you you’re not flexible enough but instead stretch every night and prove them wrong.
Sometimes it’s our own minds which become the barrier to our dreams, and the key is to surround yourself with people who are constantly encouraging and supporting you. You may not feel like you have that network in your life right now, but trust me there are people in your school and in your church who are longing to build you up.
Things to try this next week:
Write a list of things you’d love to complete by the end of the school year. It may be that you’d like to get the next belt in your Martial Arts class, or get a B in your next Maths paper, or save enough money to buy this pair of shoes you found! Whatever you fancy, write it down and give it to God saying “if it’s in your will, Lord help me to do this” and more often than not we get to see our dreams come through because we have an almighty father in heaven who loves to see us thrive!
Have a read of The Armour Of God in Ephesians 6:10-18 and let the words speak to you about how brave you are with the Lord at your side!
3. Stay organised
Simply put, knowing HOW you work is the best way to DO your work. For example, some people prefer to do their homework on the day they get it so it’s ticked off their list… however, some prefer waiting until its closer to the deadline in order to be motivated by the adrenaline of not having a lot of time. Now that looks quite clean cut, but there is a very blurred line of what society would class as appropriate work methods.
My advice: find out what works best for you! Personally, I would get too stressed leaving my homework last minute therefore I organise my time so that I can keep myself sane!!! Staying organised is not necessarily about doing your homework well, but about keep yourself positive and peaceful about the tasks you have to do in the week. It says in 1 Corinthians 14:33 “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace” and so one thing to remember when we begin to get stressed is allow him to fill you with His Almighty peace!
Another good thing about staying on top of your homework is being able to structure times into your week when you read your bible, put on some worship music, and spend some yummy time in the presence of Jesus who longs to spend time with you. Spending that time with Him is always so fruitful and often leaves you feeling very calm and ready to take on the world!
Things to try this next week:
Do one homework ASAP (as soon as possible aka the night you get it) and one homework ALAP (as late as possible aka the night before it’s due) and see which one you find easier and less stressful to do.
Using your planner may seem uncool but it’s so USEFUL in staying up to date with what you have to do outside of school.
Take that time out to read your bible and spend time with your good friend Jesus!