該是更新改變的時候了!

By: Robert J. Tamasy

有時當我走進雜貨店時,會看到商品上的標籤寫著: 「全新改良」。那經常讓我噗哧一笑,因為那意味著製造商改良之前,他們都賣給我們他們認為比較差的、待改進的產品。但同時,我也很感恩無論那些缺點是甚麼,製造商還是下了工夫去改良。

每當到了年末的時候,我也常常感覺有一種需要:做一種類似的標籤,至少象徵性的。就是去檢視過去的一年中,回想很多我原本可以,或是將會有不同作為的,或是可以做得更好的事情。而不是採用一種宿命式的態度決定說:「我就是這樣!我永遠也會是這樣。」而是我很期待將來可以做得更好。無論理由是甚麼,在這個掛上新月曆即將展開新的一年時,購買標上「全新改良」的自己正是時候。

然而,好的意圖卻常常導致失敗。我們承諾、許願、下決心,或是發誓要做得更好。但是幾天過去了,發現我們還是一樣。就像耶穌在馬太福音所說:「你們心靈固然願意,但身體卻軟弱了。」(太26:41)

但那就表示我們要放棄改變,註定失敗嗎?我們渴望改變是無望且無意義的嗎?其實不盡然!但是,如果我們堅持根據這樣的信條:『我要依靠自已』或是『我以自己是一個自給自足的男人或是女人為榮』,我們就註定要失敗。惡習很難消失,好的習慣更難養成。最終,要更新思想、談吐和行為模式,改善我們每天的生活,好聽的新年新希望或人的決心是不夠的。

這裡我提供一些建議,可以落實長時間、真實的改變,成為真正的「全新改良」的你。這些原則是根據我們經常引用的書-聖經。

尋求支援:驕傲是一個很可怕的絆腳石,尤其是拒絕別人協助你改變時。我們也許在獨立做事時感到很滿意,但是大部分的狀況是,當我們在一個團體裡結合我們的天賦能力與他人一起完成共同的目標時,成效更好。『鐵磨鐵,磨出刃來;朋友相感(原文是磨朋友的臉)也是如此。』(箴言27章17節) 『兩個人總比一個人好,因為二人勞碌同得美好的果效。若是跌倒,這人可以扶起他的同伴;若是孤身跌倒,沒有別人扶起他來,這人就有禍了。再者,二人同睡就都暖和,一人獨睡怎能暖和呢? 有人攻勝孤身一人,若有二人便能敵擋他;三股合成的繩子不容易折斷。』(傳道書4章9-12節)

尋求鼓勵:無論我們如何嘗試,我們的計畫不會總是如我們所願。我們也許會遇到令人害怕的挑戰和厄運。這時,我們能從別人肯定的話語、陪伴得到改變所需的鼓勵。『也要堅守我們所承認的指望,不至搖動,因為那應許我們的是信實的。又要彼此相顧,激發愛心,勉勵行善。』(希伯來書10章23-24節)

尋求勇氣:有時候我們所做的每一分努力都失敗了,改變看起來想天方夜譚,這時我們要記得:『因為,出於 神的話,沒有一句不帶能力的。』(路加福音1章37節) 同時,我們也要想到耶穌和他的跟隨者。『我是葡萄樹,你們是枝子。常在我裏面的,我也常在他裏面,這人就多結果子;因為離了我,你們就不能做甚麼。』(約翰福音15章5節)『我靠著那加給我力量的,凡事都能做。』(腓立比書4章13節)

勞勃.泰默西是領袖資產協會的交通部副部長,這是一個總部在美國喬治亞州亞特蘭大的非營利組織。他也是一個有38年經驗的退休新聞工作者。他寫過一本書「最佳狀態的商業:箴言給今日職場的歷久彌新智慧」(Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today”s Workplace)。他也與David A. Stoddard合著一本書「導師之心:啟發人們將其潛能發揮到極至的10個原則」(The Heart of Mentoring: 10 Proven Principles for Developing People to Their Fullest Potential)。要了解更多資訊, 可上網www.leaderslegacy.com 或上他的部落格www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com 。

思想 / 討論題目
如果你可以回到過去,改變一件去年發生的事,你想改變甚麼?請解釋你的答案。 你是否常常在新的一年立下新年新希望,或是設立目標?為什麼?如果是,通常會成功嗎? 對你來說,想成為「全新改良」的你最該做的事是甚麼? 當你感到有做改變的必要時,或是當你遇到令人畏懼的困難時,你是否轉向神尋求力量?當你如此做時,有何不同?
註:若你有聖經且想要看有關此主題的其他經文,請看:箴言11章14節,15章22節,19章20節,馬可福音10章27節,路加福音10章1-2節,18章18-27節

TIME FOR “NEW AND IMPROVED”?

By: Robert J. Tamasy

Every once in awhile I go into a grocery store and see a product we purchase often that displays a “new and improved” label. Sometimes that makes me chuckle, because basically this means until the manufacturer made the improvements, they were selling me a product they knew was inferior and could be better. At the same time, however, I feel grateful they did go to the trouble to make the desirable changes, whatever they were.

Around this time of year I often feel a need to take on a similar label, at least symbolically. Reviewing the year nearly past, I can recall many things I wish I could have – or would have – done differently, or better. Rather than adopting a fatalistic attitude, deciding “That is the way I am and the way I will always be,” I can strive to do better in the future. And for whatever reason, at this season when the calendar is poised to turn from one year to the next, it seems an excellent time to pursue a “new and improved” self.

However, the road to failure has often been paved with good intentions. We promise, resolve, determine, or vow to do better – or differently – yet within days or weeks we find ourselves doing more of the same. As Jesus stated so simply in Matthew 26:41, “The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

Does that mean we should resign ourselves to defeat, that hope for change is futile and pointless? No. However, if we insist on marching according to the mantra, “I will pull myself up by my own bootstraps,” or take pride in being a “self-made” man or woman, we truly are doomed to failure. Bad habits die with difficulty, and good habits can be extremely hard to acquire. Ultimately, to become new in how we think, talk and behave, and improved in how we go about everyday life usually requires more than nice-sounding resolutions or willpower.

Here are some suggestions for realizing changes you would like to make long-term, enabling you to truly become “new and improved.” These principles can be found in that tried and true book we refer to so often, the Bible:

Find support. Pride can be a terrible stumbling block, especially when someone refuses to take advantage of the help others can offer in achieving desired changes. We might enjoy the satisfaction of doing something on our own, but in most cases the finished product is better when we combine our respective abilities and gifts, working in concert as a team toward shared objectives.

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one man falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!… Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

Find encouragement. No matter how hard we try, our plans do not always go as expected. We may also encounter formidable challenges and adversity. At such times, we all can benefit from encouragement – provided in words of affirmation, in companionship, and in the willingness of others to offer needed resources for our quest toward change.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess…. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:23-24).

Find strength. Sometimes our very best efforts fail; change seems impossible. That is when we need to remember, “nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). At the same time, we need to think about what Jesus assured His followers::

I am the vine; you are the branches…apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5), and the words of the apostle Paul: “I can do all things through (Christ) who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit corporation based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. A veteran of more than 38 years in professional journalism, he is the author of Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today”s Workplace (River City Press) and has coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring: 10 Proven Principles for Developing People to Their Fullest Potential (NavPress). For more information, see www.leaderslegacy.com or his blog, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

If you could go back and change one thing over the past year, what would it be? Explain your answer. Do you typically make resolutions – or set goals – at the start of a new year? Why or why not? And if you do, how successful have you usually been in achieving them? What would be the best thing you could do in the coming year to become “new and improved”? When you sense a need for making changes, or when you confront formidable obstacles, do you find yourself turning to God for strength? If so, what difference has that made for you? If not, why?
NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to review additional passages that relate to this topic, consider the following verses:Proverbs 11:14, 15:22, 19:20; Mark 10:27; Luke 10:1-2, 18:18-27

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