It’s not heart surgery

                Many years ago, I worked as an administrative assistant for a man named John. John was imposing in both physical appearance and in personality. When he was happy, everyone was happy. But when he was upset, he’d use his loud, booming voice, and I think we were all a little afraid of him.

                I learned a lot from John, mostly about submitting to one’s boss (even when he or she is crazy), but I learned one specific thing that I have shared with many others along the way.

                You see, we were in sales, and John was the go-to guy for million dollar deals. Sometimes our company would win the bids – but often we lost. When we’d lose a deal, John’s face would get bright red, he’d start breathing heavy, and I was certain his head would explode.

                But then he’d go into his office, calm down a bit and make his pronouncement.

“It’s just a sale. Nobody’s gonna die. It’s not heart surgery.”

                That mantra, chanted by the most intimidating boss of all time, had a deep impact on me. In fact, I’ve repeated his mantra hundreds of times since.

                The things we usually get all worked up about are not life and death situations. (My apologies if there are any cardiac surgeons reading this.) More often than not we get upset about things that have little to no eternal significance.

                The Bible has a lot to say about this issue. Those of us who follow Christ are advised not to be anxious but, rather, we are instructed to pray. We are told to give our burdens to Jesus. We are encouraged to pour out our hearts to God, because He is our strength, our refuge and our hope.

                But it’s so easy to get weighed down by the trials of life. Just last week I found myself struggling to stay joyful. So many good things were happening, but little things were threatening to steal my joy.

              As I drove back to work after my lunch break, I thought about how easy it is to get hung up on negative things or to major in the minors, as a wise person once told me.

Motto for 2009

                Those of you who have been reading The Good News for a few years know that I’ve given up on New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I make a motto for the year that I try to live by.

Previous mottos have included:
–Shut up and pray (for those times when whining seemed easier than actually calling on God for help)
–Simplify (when my life and my stuff was out of control)
–Rest (after a particularly stressful year when I needed to “rest” in God’s faithfulness)
–Proclaim the Name (because Jesus gets way too little talk time)
–And Prioritize (last year’s motto which I think I was at least somewhat successful at).

Words to live by

                Keeping with tradition, I’ve come up with a motto for 2009: INVEST.

                The key to this year will be choosing to invest my heart and my mind in things that are positive, lovely and of good report. By doing this, I hope to keep the “joy stealers” away.

                I will also invest my time and talents in worthwhile causes. And finally, I will invest my treasures in things that are eternal.

                What about you? What are your goals, resolutions and mottos for 2009? Write to us, and share your resolutions by e-mailing [email protected]

                I pray your 2009 will be full of joy, laughter, good health, good investments … and a renewed knowledge of how much God loves you.

                Happy New Year!

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