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Listen to God in 2010

My Internet voyages this week have focused on the moments in 2009 caught so masterfully by photographers and writers who focus on the people who continue to take center stage as well as the cast of characters in our global human drama who have left us. I’m thinking of Michael Jackson, Ed McMahon, Billy Mays, Farrah Fawcett, Patrick Swayze, Ted Kennedy and his sister Eunice, Walter Cronkite, and other people of public note.

When I consider each of these individuals—their place in the world, their style, their passions, their frailties, their contributions, their challenges—God reminds me that these qualifiers are ours as well. I am convinced as never before that in 2010 we can each live inspired, meaningful, purposeful, and deep lives. But there is, of course, a catch. We cannot do it alone. We must redraw how we look at the greater scheme of things. As hard as this may be for those of us who tend to be practical, logical-- even scientific, if you will -- opening our hearts in new ways and wrapping our minds around the idea that God is ever-present will revolutionize our experiences and our lives.

Remember this as you enter 2010 with a prayer to grow and change: God will speak both loudly and softly to you and those around you. He will use people and events to encourage and challenge you. He may even intangibly urge you to do things like open up that dusty Bible stashed upon a shelf or join a study group. All these methods will be used in your life for the same purpose: that you will come to love and enjoy Him. Include Him in the dailyness of your life and prayerfully ask that you grow in your faith during the coming year.

To experience God in 2010 we will want to embrace the wonders of life -- no matter the circumstances. And there will be a host of deal breakers out there if we let them. We can expect to witness fractures in our relationships. Death. Ill health. Financial worries. Natural disasters. Injustices. Political intrigue. Whether it involves us or those we love and care for, life’s greatest worries will be experienced. But God will also be present. We have the ability to draw on Him and choose to be content if we learn how and practice it. It may begin by simply surrounding ourselves with people we value and remembering that the learning never ends.

2010 will be a wondrous year if we listen to that private voice we commonly ignore. It’s the voice that is sensitive, caring, thoughtful, loving, and selfless, but much of the time impractical. It’s the voice that represents the best in you but is the one you invariably ignore because you are not as organized as you need (and can!) be. You are too busy. You are too self-absorbed. You are too tired and too unfocused. God’s quiet, private communication with you will urge you to make a phone call. Stop on your way home to visit a friend in the hospital. Walk toward the person in the grocery store you know is struggling and could use a hug. Mail the birthday card to the family member you’ve not talked to in months. Get up early on your only day off to participate in a community service project. Dare to talk with the person in your life who intimidates you but with whom you need to create a peaceful coexistence. Make a financial contribution when money is tight.

Bundled together, these choices will gift you with moments of faithful living and begin creating the person you long to be in 2010.

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