Faith Featured

Brand New Colors

Written by Betty Streff

Do you do New Year’s resolutions?  I am on the fence about this one.  Let’s think it over, okay?

A new year feels like turning to a fresh crisp page in a brand new coloring book. There, in pristine perfection, is a line drawing of the cutest puppy with a bow around his neck.  He is sitting under an apple tree loaded with fruit.  Puffy cloud shapes in the white sky are begging to be surrounded with cerulean blue.  There you are, gripping your new box of crayons.  It’s sort of exhilarating, and the artistic possibilities dance in your head.

Santa brought you a box of 48 wonderful shades, (64 if you had been extra good) with exotic names like magenta, aquamarine and burnt sienna. Carefully opening the box, you inhale deeply and drink in the familiar and unforgettable scent of pigmented wax.  With crayon poised, you decide where to begin on your masterpiece.  Remember that wonderful feeling of blank, unrumpled pages and Crayolas with their squared off little points still intact?

For just a bit, a new year feels like that.  It’s as if some cosmic reset button has been pressed and we are given the beautiful sense of starting over. Our intentions are heartfelt and pure. THIS year will be different. I will be stronger, wiser, more organized, thinner.

For most of us, this surge of inspiration wears off in about 10 days.  Soon we feel discouraged by our lack of focus and discipline and slide back into our old habits.  But wait. Let’s look at this differently.  That cosmic reset button?  It gets reset not just every 365 days, but every 24 hours. God gives us a gift every day, 1440 shiny new minutes to use in any way we like.  If we stumble today we are forgiven and a blank page is presented to us tomorrow.

I don’t know about you but this is pretty amazing and wonderful to me. I have yet to live one single day perfectly.  Ever.  I am glad for the opportunity to do better today than I did yesterday and I am so grateful for a God that loves me even when I color outside the lines.

rainbow boy by Stan

I think the best thing I learned in the previous 365 days is to give the first minutes of my day to hearing what God has to say to me.  I started this a year ago and for the first time in my whole life I really stuck to my plan.  That was it.  Just one decision.  One resolution.  Ten minutes.  No, not after I started a load of wash or emptied the dishwasher or checked Facebook or clipped a hang nail that appeared while I slept.  First. Thing. Every. Day.

Was I perfect?  Heck no.  Did I race out of bed some mornings in a panic and miss it?  You bet.  But honestly, only a very few times.  Because why? Because once I got the habit, the habit got me. It has been almost miraculous what it has done for my peace of mind and my ability to bend without breaking and forgive without hesitation.

The tool I used as a guide was a little book entitled Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.  It fits snugly in the pocket of my Bible case.  I also have allowed myself to underline and make notes in my Bible as I read the accompanying scripture and it is becoming a very personal reminder of my journey.  I don’t know you well enough to exchange gifts but I would love to give this to you.  It is so good it must be shared. It changes lives and I would not hesitate to give it even to a stranger.

Every single change begins with a thought, an idea.  Thoughts are things, really powerful things.  God made us with a mind that can direct our brain in new ways to think, to see, to live and to walk closer with Him.  St. Paul writes in his letter to the Romans in Chapter 12 verse 2, Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will “.

Tomorrow is a perfect day to begin a new behavior. (Today is even better.)   Happy New Year, and God bless you today and every day!!

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About the author

Betty Streff

Betty Streff began her career as a customer service representative for a large corporation in Omaha. Four years later she found herself to be a farm wife in a small rural community with limited opportunities for women. After a humbling self assessment, she listed her assets as talents for sketching, sewing, and the natural ability to strike up conversations with complete strangers. Using these and her optimistic nature, she began stitching up some bibs and pillows for a craft show, who wouldn’t?

Over the next 25 years she became a serial entrepreneur obsessed with studying faith, spirituality, leadership, motivation, and management as she developed her businesses. Betty has spent the last few years working in corporate America in the hospitality and manufacturing world and she continues to immerse herself in the study of what makes people tick.

The explosive growth in the relatively recent science of positive psychology fascinates her. Betty devours everything she can find on the subject and is especially intrigued with people who thrive no matter the circumstances and in discovering ways that happiness and optimism can be learned. She is currently exploring ways of sharing and cultivating the exciting possibilities with both individuals and businesses.

She and her husband Steve have been married 45 years and are blessed with 2 incredible daughters, 2 fantastic sons-in-law and 6 amazing grandchildren.

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