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creamer column reflect, reprioritize

The holidays are a wonderful break from the routines of life. But now it’s time to pack up all the boxes and put the decorations away for another year. I don’t know how your holidays went, but ours were busy and, at times, rushed.
There were a few times throughout the season that I felt lucky to find some peaceful moments. It’s hard to stop everything and find those moments, but they are worth it.
After all the rushing around for the holidays, many people will be glad to get back to the routines of life. Routines are comforting and they help us with good habits like maintaining our quiet times, but they can also get us back into bad ruts.
Having a break from the routine ought to afford us an opportunity to examine our ruts and to make plans to avoid those negative activities in our lives.
I believe breaks in routines can also help us reset our priorities which often get out of sync because of the pressures of life. When we come off vacations we have the chance to focus on what is important and to remove those distractions that take us away from our priorities. So here we sit at the beginning of a new year with the golden opportunity to reset our priorities.
The best way to re-establish priorities is finding a few peaceful moments to reflect. Many people do not like to look back at life because they focus on the bad things that have happened. It’s good to notice the bad things and to determine that you want to avoid those paths again in the future. It’s very important to reflect and think about all the good things that have happened as well.
We’ve all had some good moments, set and kept priorities, and experienced life in its fullness. These are all good things that we want to reinforce and strengthen in our lives.
Did you notice the most difficult part of that process? Finding a few peaceful moments. The holiday season demands so much of us that peaceful moments are fleeting. But now that the holidays have come and gone, there are opportunities to quietly reflect on our lives. Many people do that in order to create New Year’s resolutions, and that’s good. But peaceful reflection should go beyond making a list of things we want to change about ourselves.
Peaceful reflection should not be solely focused on areas that need change; we should also focus on what we are doing right. Each one of us have set priorities and miraculously kept them this year. We need to congratulate ourselves and recognize areas where we have made improvement or accomplished goals. Focusing on the positive and remembering the good that we accomplished should serve to encourage us to work on further improvement.
Each of us can list areas where we need improvement, and if we can’t think of some, there are always family members willing to point out those areas. But when we focus on the areas where we have done well and overcome then we can become self-motivated to make improvements in our lives. I believe when we focus on improvement from this angle, we will be much more inclined and motivated to work harder on those areas of our lives.
If we spend a few quiet moments with God He will help us discover areas of our lives where He is proud of us. God loves us and sees the best in us. He knows where we have strained to improve and where we need to work harder to overcome. His priority for changes in our lives is often different than ours, so it becomes even more important to take a few quiet moments to listen for his guidance. Spirit-led changes are always in our best interest.
I know that 2008 promises to be a distracting year, especially in the political arena. That’s why I want to encourage you to find a few peaceful moments now that the holiday madness is over and reflect. Remember to think about the good things in your life and allow them to help motivate you for positive change. One thing is certain; all things are possible, especially peaceful quiet moments, and a year of positive change in our lives.
May 2008 begin peacefully for you in God’s presence.
Doug Creamer teaches marketing at East Davidson High School. His Web site is www.dougcreamer.com. Contact him at P.O. Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or e-mail dougcreamerbooks@yahoo.com.

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