Thursday, 26 May 2022

G Guest Editorials

Celebrate Lit: Happy New Year!

By Carolyn Miller


Reclaiming available IGHappy new year!

Are you someone who likes to write New Year’s resolutions? Perhaps you’re like me – and so many others – who might intend to eat better / exercise more / spend less / lose weight / practice gratitude more only to get a week or two into the new year and suddenly remember that those good intention didn’t last. It’s a bit like those times we see a friend and say “Hey, we should catch up” that never eventuates into catching up, unless a specific time and date is mentioned and locked into the calendar.

Our human flesh is weak, isn't it? I don’t know how many times I’ve thought to myself in the morning “Oh, today will be the day I practice intermittent fasting until 11am” only to have my husband say “Want to go out for breakfast?” and I’m like “Yeah!” Maybe that’s just me. Or maybe that’s you, too.

Some people are excellent at staying motivated. Others of us struggle at different times. My son gained early admission to university and then struggled with the point of studying for final exams that really don’t mean anything because his position has been secured, and his motivation is gone.

I’ve got a couple of books published where I’ve explored this issue. Reclaiming Hope looks at what happens when an uber-organized executive assistant meets a chilled pro-surfer who has lost his sense of purpose due to injury, whereas The Breakup Project looks more specifically at what happens when someone is struggling with their new year’s resolution and the ramifications this leads to. In both stories the characters find strength and new purpose through God and His purpose, which helps them clarify what their life goals are really about.

Because it’s one thing to have a good intention, it’s another to have a sense of God-infused purpose. So while it might be good for me to lose weight or eat better or be more thankful, it’s quite another to look at those things that God thinks are most important. And those things can be summed up in one word and two phrases:

Love.

Love God.

Love others.

It’s right there in the Bible. Jesus even spells it out for us in Matthew 27, verses 37-39. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” He then goes on to say that all the law and the prophets hangs on these two commands – to love God, and to let that love extend into lovingMILLER Reclaiming Hope others.

Later, the apostle John, Jesus’s beloved disciple, provides a little more detail when he says in 1 John 4 that God IS love, that it’s because of His love for us that we should love one another.

I think that understanding this, the deeper truth of recognizing and responding to God’s love, helps shape the way we see both God and others – and ourselves. Recognizing that we are loved by God, not because of our efforts or our looks or our good deeds, but that we are loved by God regardless, helps us to love ourselves a little more. Which can then provide a deeper reason for wanting to make positive changes, like eating healthily or exercising more. And recognizing that we are loved helps us see others in this way also. It’s not based on the color of their skin or how they vote or whether they even worship the same God as we do. God’s love for us digs deep inside our hearts and helps us to love others, regardless of these things.

I know loving others is something I can struggle with sometimes. But I wonder if it’s less to do with the fact I often squirrel myself away writing romance (love stories – oh, the irony!) and more to do with the fact that I’m forgetting this great and gracious gift of love God has given me.

So this year, my intention, my renewed purpose and goal, my word-for-the-year is: Love.

To meditate, soak in the Bible truths and promises and gain a deeper understanding of the depth and breadth of God’s love for me and therefore love Him more, and by doing so be so completely filled with God’s love that it flows from me to others.

I think that will make for a very happy new year indeed.


Carolyn Miller

 Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has pastored a church for ten years, and worked as a public high school English and Learning and Support teacher. 

A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her Regency and contemporary novels are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Koorong, etc

Connect with her:        website | facebook | pinterest | twitter | instagram

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