January first started a new calendar year. Many people chose this day to make new year resolutions. They set goals to be happier, healthier, and financially set. They decide to work on relationships, businesses, and decluttering. Approximately 38% of American adults will resolve to do something different in the coming year, yet by next year’s flip of the calendar the vast majority will have unmet resolutions. Amazingly, many won’t even remember what their resolutions were! Today’s celebration of the Feast of the Epiphany gives a stark contrast to what you see in the secular world today. It also gives you a major boost in accomplishing what you resolve to do!
You in the Magi’s Journey
The Feast of the Epiphany honors three kings who resolved to pay homage to the newborn Christ and then succeeded in doing so. It is tempting to compare their kingship to your lack of nobility to explain why their goals were met and yours are not, but that does both the kings and you a disservice.
The truth is, the kings had a long, arduous journey. They did not know where they were going. They had to ask for help in finding their way from Herod, an evil man. Herod was also a king so they had no authority over him. They would have needed to humble themselves in the presence of Herod who did not deserve their humility. The journey would have cost a great deal in wealth, but also in time and presence among their subjects.
What’s more is that these kings had no guarantee they would find the Babe in time.
Read the above two paragraphs again. This time, insert your name where the kings are mentioned. You might read something like this:
The truth is, you have a long, arduous journey. You do not know where you are going. You may have to ask for help in finding your way from ________, a _________. You have no authority over _________. You need to humble yourself in the presence of _________ who does not deserve your ___________. Your journey will cost a great deal in wealth, but also time and presence among loved ones.
What’s more is that you have no guarantee you will find what you are looking for.
Suddenly, you can see your struggles are not much different from those the Magi met. Your struggles are not much different from those humanity has faced since the Fall of Creation. This is because Satan is not creative. He clothes the same downfalls in circumstances that fit the era.
Epiphany’s Truth in the Magi’s Journey
If you can change your mindset from that of a victim to that of a traveling king, you positively impact the odds of attaining your resolutions. If you can change your thinking from seeing things as working against you to seeing both difficulties and benefits as handpicked to work for you in your particular time and place, you start looking for opportunities and begin achieving your goals. Like the Wise Men, your guarantees become less important than doing out what you know you are called to do. Surprisingly, this also guarantees that you are more likely to obtain your goal!
Before you can do this though, you need to know truth. What the kings had that you may have lost is truth. This is solid, nonnegotiable, unmitigated, everlasting TRUTH!.
The kings had a vision for where they wanted to go and they knew why they wanted to be there. They knew there was something special about the Star and the Baby the Star watched over. They knew they were called to travel in a foreign land. They knew they would not let hardships or confusion stop them. They knew they would solve the details along the way. They knew they would have to do distasteful, but never immoral, things. They knew reaching their destination would be worth their efforts.
Most of all, the kings knew two things. First, they knew the Truth of who they were. They knew their worth. They knew their loyalty. They knew their capabilities and weren’t afraid to push them farther. Second, they had at least an idea of the greatness of who God is! These foreign, non-Jewish men could look up at the stars at night and know Truth of Creation. These Truths gave them the impetus to keep going when things got difficult!
In a strange and twisted way, Herod also knew some truth. Like the wise men, he also had at least an idea of the greatness of who God is. He knew this in relation to how tenuous his own position was. He knew he had no choice but to rule with an iron fist. Herod had an idea of what a baby king could do to his kingdom even if he had no idea of what The Baby King wanted for his soul.
King Herod knew many truths, but he missed many too. He saw the same Star the three kings saw. He knew the three kings were onto something, but he failed to recognize the Star as the wise men did. He did not embrace Truth in the prophecies of old. He did not accept Truth, as Isaiah’s Epiphany readings tell us, that his would be a time of splendor, glory, light, and, not just radiance, but of shining radiance!
Herod took truth and saw only fear and mistrust where God placed goodness and light.
The three foreign kings and Herod took the same experience and absorbed it in very different ways. Truth was not changed, but the way they applied it was. You may do the same to Truths God attempts to reveal to you.
You and Herod or You and the Magi’s Truth?
The New Year is a time to set new goals. It is a time to resolve to grow in ways you failed to grow in the past. It is a time to travel inwardly, even more than outwardly. Many people embark on goal setting without embarking on heir inward travel. This is their truth discovery. This failure to look inward first is a mistake many make and a reason many New Year resolutions fail. Consider the following when considering New Year goals and the Truths behind them.
- What good is a goal without truth?
- What good is a goal if you don’t know who can help you achieve it?
- What good is goal if you don’t know what you are capable of?
- What good is a goal if you don’t know you can push past your limits?
- What good is a goal if you don’t know what God is asking of you?
- What good is a goal if you don’t know who you are?
There are many things about life you cannot change. Truth is generally one of them. Truth usually does not change, but how you see truth can change often. Consider the truths behind both the Magi and Herod.
In most ways, the Magi had a much harder time than Herod. The truth was that they had to travel a great distance. They had to learn a foreign language. They had to seek help from an evil and powerful man. They had to believe their journey had meaning beyond guarantees of success. They had to believe God had plans for them and they had to believe the truth that He wanted something, not just from them but for them!
They had to believe this last, knowing they were not Jews and therefore not part of God’s Chosen people! They had to embrace the difficult Truth that God had a Love for them personally even though they were Gentiles. They had to know the power of getting out of their own heads!
The wise kings knew the truth is that they were Loved and meant for greatness through humility. Herod’s truth was vastly different. His truth believed he was greater than the Jewish God. He believed God was not a being of Love but of one to be dominated and controlled and ultimately defeated.
The contradictions set the two sets of kings on very different paths. The Truths they chose to embrace impacted not only their lives, but the lives those in the world to this day!
The question is what Truth will you embrace?
Who Are You in Your Goal Setting?
There is still plenty of time to set new goals. One of the great things about the Church is that it gives you many opportunities to start fresh. You can begin again on January 1st as many Christians and non-Christians do. You can also begin again on Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. You can begin on Easter Sunday or any feast days! You can begin on your birthday or on the first day of Advent, the start of the liturgical new year. Most importantly, you can always start again after Confession!
But starting again is only a small part of the battle. Before you can make your resolutions a reality, you must know who you are by consciously identifying and defining Truths.
Take time to sit in silence and write out your truths. Ask yourself what the truth is behind your action. Here are some “truths” single moms tell themselves. You may use these if you identify with any of them, but also take time to sit in silence and consider “truths” you tell yourself.
Common Negative “Truths” Single Moms Silently Tell Themselves:
- I am no good.
- No one would ever want me.
- No one cares.
- I can’t do it alone.
- I’ll never get everything done.
- No one understands.
You can see where this list is heading. These are Herod’s “truths.” They are rooted in negativity. These “truths” are centered around the deadly sins of fear, lust, wrath, and pride among other things. Let’s contradict these with real Truths and see why the negative list is not a list of Truths at all!
Positive Truths Grateful Single Moms Recognize:
- I am worthy
- I am Loved.
- I am not alone.
- I am powerful.
- I can get what needs to be done, done.
- I can articulate my needs so that others understand.
Contrary to the previous list, this list is grounded in positivity, but there is more too! This list is grounded in actual Truth. This is what separates the wise men from Herod. The wise men were able to distinguish between Truth and emotion. They were able to be grateful for their elevated positions, unique opportunities, and difficult journey.
Herod was not. He was unable to detach from emotion to recognize Truth. He was unable to be grateful.
Read the negative list again. Notice how grounded in emotion and absolutes it is. Now, think of yourself and your own experience with Truth. Relax your mind, body, heart, and soul and ask the Holy Spirit to help you see Truth in yourself. Inhale deeply through your nose all the way to your belly. Exhale slowly through your mouth. Let go of any grasp you have on your desire to manipulate Truth. Do not judge yourself harshly. Be both firm and gentle. Simply notice yourself in thoughts, words, and actions and start to see how many times you have mistaken emotion for truth. Notice how many times you have mistaken someone else’s emotion for Truth.
Mistaking emotion for Truth is easy to do. It is something we all do from time to time, but just because something is commonly done, does not mean it is helpful or good! If the wise men did what everyone else did, they would not be wise. They also would not have gotten to see the Savior! Their eternities may have been changed!
The wise men could not do what everyone else did. They need to be firmly grounded in Truth. To achieve what you set out for, whether that is a healthy life style, a clean home, a dream job, close friendships, or a joy-filled family centered in God’s Love, you must do the same. You must be firmly grounded in Truths as revealed by God, not negative emotion.
Reassurances of Truth
The Truth is, you are worthy because Jesus makes you worthy. Nothing you or anyone else says or does can change that. The Truth is, struggle is a good thing. The Truth is, you are more powerful than you know. The Truth is, you are not alone. The Truth is You Are Loved.
Sometimes it is difficult to recognize the Truth about your self-worth. This is especially true when you have been rejected or had your heart trampled on. It is difficult to believe the Truth of power and creativity when you have been beaten and bruised. It is so hard to recognize Truth when you surround yourself with lies.
Fortunately, the Bible, Sacred Tradition, and countless pages of writings from the Saints, are waiting to fill you with God’s ever lasting Truth. Before giving up on your New Year resolutions, take humble steps as the Magi would have done. Know the Truth of who you are. See evidence of it in every sunrise and in every rainstorm. Sit. Read your Bible. Journal. Define the evidence and pray. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep returning to Truth, especially when lies creep in!
Believe the Truth that you are worthy, that you are not alone, that you are beautiful and creative and powerful. Most of all, know in TRUTH you are Loved.
And then set forth to attain what you joyfully resolve to do.
If you would like more information on attaining your goals – or maybe it’s been forever since you had goals and you need help dreaming again! – reach out to me at Kerri@SingleMomSmiling.com. I would love to work with you!