McDowell Technical Community College

LIFE LESSONS

By Doug Harrell

As the years have passed I have realized more and more how important our heritage is to each  of us.  Our values are certainly influenced by our growing up years and the lessons taught by our parents, our teachers, church leaders and others that have influenced our lives.  We are a product of our heritage, but we can change that heritage if we determine to do that!  That can be good or bad, depending on the decisions we make on a day to day basis.  I have seen people that grew up with Godly parents and teachers that went astray, I have also seen people that grew up in terrible situations but turned their lives around and became wonderful, productive members of society.  One of the lessons that I have learned, and am still learning, is that God gives us a mind, a will and the ability to make decisions and that if we make stupid decisions we will get stupid results.  It is sooo vitally important that we constantly search for wisdom in making good decisions, and the greatest source of wisdom comes from God’s word.  As we go into the new year, take time to search for this wisdom and make a commitment to the health of your mind, not just your body.  We tend to think about the health of our body constantly but worry little about having a healthy mind when really the mind controls most of what we do.  “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore, get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.”  Proverbs 4:7-8.

As we start the new year, I have found it to be critical to make goals and plans for the things that I would like to accomplish for the year, as the Bible says, “A people without a vision shall perish” and many people today just go with the flow.  If we are to be fruitful, we must direct the flow and again, we need to always be seeking God’s will for our lives as we make the plans.  “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.” Proverbs 3:5-8  Barbara and I have for years taken a day at the end of each year to spend really talking together about our goals and vision for the year coming up.  To be really effective, we have found that we must take the time to write down our goals and  then we must make a plan that we can follow.  This plan must start with steps that we need to make now, not a year later.  What path do we need to be on and what changes do we need to make in our lives to make the goals become a reality.  New Year resolutions are great and quite common, it is also quite common to discard them after a few weeks into the New Year.  The act of writing down, reading your goals back to yourself, and writing down a plan of action that will lead to the accomplishment of the objectives is critical to success.  The old adage “ The height of stupidity is to expect a different result from doing the same thing over and over again.”  If things are to be different you must act differently.  If you are going to buy a ticket to travel, the first thing you must determine is where you are wanting to go.  This is totally true in life.

Another thing that you must work on if you are to change and accomplish things with your life is that you must first learn to love yourself!  This may sound egotistical, but it is really not at all.  One of the great commands of the Lord is to love thy neighbor as thyself, this means that we are expected to love ourselves.  The only way we can truly love ourselves is to be in the will of God and to make right decisions daily.  Think about how God would react to the decisions you were getting ready to make.  The little bracelet that people wear that says WWJD “What Would Jesus Do” will make you stop and think.  Do the right things, ask for God’s divine wisdom and directions, set goals for yourself that are in agreement with God’s will, make a plan of action that is in line with what God would condone and move forward with your life.  The year 2019 can be your year to excel, have faith and take the first step toward the changes you want to make and stay on track by spending time seeking wisdom each day.  God Bless and Happy New Year.