For most of us, 2019 will be the same as 2018, not because we don’t desire it to be better, but because we are trying to change the wrong things. We’re quick to change our friends, change our jobs, and change our eating habits, but we’re slow to change ourselves, our mindsets, and our transcendent relationships. We’re eager to cut out negative people, but not quite so enthusiastic about cutting out the negative parts of ourselves. We strive to change our circumstances, determined to spend less money or exercise more. And these things aren’t without merit! They’re typically good ideas, but unless we also change how we react to our current situation, nothing will ever get better.
I had to get to a place in my life where I didn’t just give permission to negative people to influence my life, but I also personally learned to stop being so affected by other’s opinions of me. I couldn’t just start managing my time better, but I also had to be content in my circumstances. I had to trust God to provide, surrender my fear to Him, and not desire a life beyond my means. I couldn’t be a priest of circumstances, a priest affected by the storms of life, a priest whose feelings were based on the situation at hand. I had to expand my vision, seeing with a kingdom mindset, so that when the wind threatened to blow down my castle, I just stood straight.
I am trying to become a priest who lets go of control, and who surrenders perfection. I had to realize my happiness wasn’t based on my people’s love for me, my parishioner’s compliments, or even my waist size. It wasn’t contingent on my friendships with others. It wasn’t even dependent on my good health, for I could get sick any given day. In the end, it came down to fear and control. I could no longer fear the things I couldn’t control- which happened to be just about everything.
So why does one year end and another begin, yet nothing changes? Life is still hard, bad things happen, and trouble comes our way. Family gets sick, loved ones die, and something around the house breaks down. Jobs are lost, savings accounts dwindle, and muscles start to ache regularly. Relationships end, the promotion goes to someone else, and the book you wrote still isn’t published. We can change none of these things, so where does the hope lie?
You know, your future will never change until you change yourself. And that doesn’t mean changing your circumstances or your environment, or even your habits. Yes, changing those things are good, but in truth, you must change how you see those things. The fact is, your situation doesn’t make your life what it is. Your life is what it is because of who you are, and you are a child of God! Having that heritage is the lifesaver you require, because the circumstances of each day don’t matter. Your God will save you. This life on earth and all the different situations therein are but window dressing. They’re simply a foretaste of the divine, a precursor to eternity. Therefore, when changes in circumstances rock your boat, you can keep your thoughts steady on the eternal mindset of the life that awaits you beyond this one.
How do you change 2019? By changing your view of it. The future is nothing to fear, nothing you strive to control and change, but rather something you surrender. Surrender old thoughts that say earthly things matter more than they do. If it’s not going to Heaven with you, then I wouldn’t waste too many tears on it. Rather anticipate with great joy and hope a future without tears, without broken relationships, and aging bodies. Look fondly forward with love to a future that you will not need to improve, but that already is everything you desire. Keep your eyes on that promised future, take along everyone you can, and enjoy enthusiastically the time you have before that day comes.
I am so grateful to serve you as your Pastor, and I look forward to our continued journey this year.
May God bless you in 2019.
Fr. László Nagy