SGLY: Already there

By Tiffany Chartier
Special to the Prosper Press

As 2021 draws to a close, may we give a thankful nod to another year’s worth of inhales and exhales. I pray some moments took your breath away in awe while others gave you a filling of your lungs to find your voice and sing your song.

“The LORD is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation” (Psalm 118:14).

This year has been a difficult tipping point for some. Either affected by the loss of a loved one, health, security, or a dream, a new year feels more like a stranger rather than a welcoming friend. Blank squares waiting to be filled on 2022 calendars remind us that we cannot live fully into any other day but today. We can schedule and anticipate, but only the Lord knows what will come. The best we can do is live daily into the best of who God made us, being good stewards of the time He gifts.

“Don’t be afraid to start over. This time you’re not starting from scratch, you’re starting from experience.” - unknown

We are each a year older and hopefully the wisdom we have gained did not come at too high of a price. If you feel worn and weary behind the smile you give, please walk kindly upon your path — take the next best step, one step at a time. Perhaps you are working through a significant life change. Friend, look what it took to get you here. Look how far you have come and all you have overcome.

Even on the days we feel uncertain, we can celebrate the faithful hand of Christ upon our lives. His firm hand steadies us while His gentleness alights upon our path. I can say with certainty Christ has never left me. When I was unsure of my ability to hold onto Him, He never let me go. Indeed, His strength was and is my supply and my well of joy.

“Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).

As you reflect on 2021, be mindful of where you spent your energy. Ask yourself if what you gave thought and action to was the best use of the talents and time God gave you. Take inventory of the company you kept and the things you accumulated. Did they brighten your personal space, or did you allow yourself to be overcrowded by people and possessions which cluttered your peace?

Make space to grow in 2022. Stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone and never stop learning. Be a passionate student of life and begin with learning more about yourself. Invest in your growth, in your peace, and your purpose. Find comfort in the company of your thoughts. Forgive yourself for behaviors that you now understand were not reflective of who you want to be — who God wants you to be. Get active in your progress and have your actions silence your excuses. May we not be afraid to lean into God’s truths and rest upon the security of His love and grace. Rest. Regroup. And begin again.

We overthink. We tend to undervalue God and overvalue our fears. May our faith, not our fears, make decisions in 2022. Take a chance — risk failure. Be free to be you and give others the freedom to do the same. Speak gratitude more than gossip. Kick the habit of complaint and

negativity. Appreciate time and those who make an effort to share it with you. Look more upon people than your phone. Hug. Kiss. Dance, even if you dance alone. Use your legs to take you closer to people, meeting others where they are at. And your eyes, even if they are failing, may you choose to see the best in people, not because they look or act a certain way, but because God has enabled you to see them through His eyes.

With so much isolation and divisiveness, we have dulled our capacity to empathize as a society. We have stopped seeing one another — truly seeing one another. Many look at others only as far as what they can do for them. Instead of lending an ear or a hand, they take what they need and leave. In this pattern of doing life, people have become more of a supply rather than a support system.

May we never forget the best leaders are servant-leaders. The best seekers are joy-seekers. And the best lovers of others and life are those who listen, support and affirm with an empathetic spirit. As we bid farewell to one year and welcome in another, let us step into the unfilled days knowing our Savior is already there.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

SGLY, dear reader.

(Smile, God Loves You.)

Tiffany Chartier

Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian author and opinion columnist. Submit feedback and connect for more soul lifts on Facebook: Tiffany Kaye Chartier; Instagram:@tiffanysgly; and Twitter: @tiffanychartier. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Texoma Marketing and Media Group.