…AND A happy “re-new” year

I recently read a suggestion for losing weight – every morning take a long look at yourself from head to toe in the mirror. I found that it works – I lost my appetite.

Memberships rise after the holidays in First Place groups across the country. We have let our appetites control our eating and activities, and take the place of responsible living. Now it is time to get back at it, and we all need a lot of HELP!   For most of us, the reflection in the mirror and the reaching new heights on the scales is what motivates us. But is that the motivation that brings lasting and satisfying results?

Most of the furnishings in our house have had better days. That doesn’t mean that they are shabby or that we want to get rid of them. Many pieces were from our families and have great sentimental value. Some are older pieces we purchased, because we love the charm, quality and character of old handmade furniture. Some needed some fresh love and reworking like repairing loose hinges, peeling paint, scratched finishes and damaged wood. It was important that these pieces were functional for our home, but we wanted them to retain their original beauty. We didn’t want them to look like new, we wanted them to be “re-newed.”

In many ways, I am envious of the young adults that I work with here at the University. They are at their prime mentally and physically. With the slightest effort they can demonstrate great improvement in all areas of their lives. But, I don’t want to go back. It is not that I have no regrets, or that there aren’t many decisions and choices that I would not like to do better, but I don’t want to start the journey over again. I don’t want to go back to my prime [I am not sure when that was but surely I had one]. Instead, I want to be at my best for now to do what I am called to do now !

The power of First Place is not just that it has a recognized healthy eating plan. It is much more. The evidence of a healthy life is more apparent on what is NOT seen in the mirror. The mirror may reflect some inner issues, but will never get to the heart.

II Corinthians 4:16,18 [NAS] “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day… while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Perhaps abandoning the eating plan through the holidays motivated the return to First Place meetings. God can use a faulty motive to do a new thing that is of great value, like refocusing on the things that last:

Loving God….Loving Others!
It isn’t that hard, but is easily lost in the temporal.

As the new year begins:

look long at yourself in the mirror – where do you want to be January 2006?
take a deeper look in your soul – where do you want to be January 2006 and beyond?

Don’t just wish it – do it!

…and have a Happy “Re-New” Year!

Dr. Bill Heston
University Chaplain,
Howard Payne University
Brownwood, Texas

Dr. William Heston was minister of pastoral care at Houston’s First Baptist Church; clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and a marriage therapist licensed by the state of Texas. He has also led seminars at First Place Conferences.