Observing The Year

I love this time of year. I love the way it’s a bit like sitting at a precipice – observing the well-worn peaks and valleys behind, while also gazing toward the unfamiliar horizon ahead.  It’s a season of sitting in the in-between, and sometimes it’s nice to take some extra time to rest in this place.

 

Always one to set somewhat lofty goals, the new year has been a favorite of mine for awhile. It’s a fresh start, a time to hit the reset button and redirect some things. My usual questions start stirring up around the December 28th. Things didn’t go so well for me last year. I didn’t achieve all that I wanted. What do I want to change? How can I make it happen? How can I make the best of my next 365 days? What can I do to get this one right? 

The challenge with that way of thinking is that it’s all about me.

I learned a lot of lessons in 2015, not all of them easy {more on that later}, so I’ve found myself sitting in this new year precipice a little longer this time around. During my pausing and musing I’ve found myself turning to prayer and God’s Word a lot. Sadly, I’ve realized this might be the first year that I’ve truly, deeply involved the Lord in my new year planning. Oh how it hurts my heart to admit that… But in doing so, He’s revealed some sweet things to me.

The time to be content and joyful is now. Not tomorrow. Right now.

Being a dreamer is a gift, but it can also be a major stumbling block. Looking far forward often means missing the little blessings happening today. I came across a devotional from SheReadsTruth the other day that completely summarized me. It read:

Since I was a little girl, I thought the next thing was going to be better. I thought the next stage of life was going to save me from the ills that had befallen me in my current day-to-day.

I would never, ever think of being thankful while I waited, because I just couldn’t stop thinking about how Then must be better than Now. I thought this for years, even as life stage after life stage passed me by with no relief. The next thing never made it better.

But, that didn’t stop me from hoping. And I don’t mean I hoped in a holy way. I hoped with a discontent spirit, an unholy longing.

Those words hit a bit too close to home. No, that’s not the woman I want to be. Instead I long to “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” {Romans 12:12} I yearn for contentment, to lift my hands in praise while I stand in the hallway and wait for God to open the next door.

Sometimes waiting can be a good thing.

Now standing in that hallway with no clear next step in sight can be a terrifying and anxiety ridden thing. All too often I find myself shaking down doors wondering why God won’t just open the next one already.

But sometimes waiting and enduring is right where we’re supposed to be. That’s where faith is born. The truth is, if I knew the entire plan – where and how God was going to move next and what was in store – that’s not real faith. I love the way Paul sums it up: “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?” {Romans 8:23}

Waiting for the Lord to bring certain things to fruition is almost unbearable some days, but it’s also been a grace-filled and sanctifying process. So while we wait in eager expectation we can have faith that we’re not waiting in vain, and that God has a big and beautiful plan in play.

I will mess up in 2016…a lot…and that’s okay.

Yeah, there were definitely mistakes made in 2015. Some bigger than others. On the other hand, I’ve also not experienced grace as tangibly as I did this past year.

Many are probably familiar with Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” but we too often stop there. What is supposed to be a splendid promise is cut down to a condemning declaration. However, in context it reads: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” {Romans 3:23-24}

Justified through faith in Christ by his redeeming grace. My mistakes are not pointless. He’s going to use them for good. What a magnificent promise that is. And what a burden is lifted from my shoulders!

Someone else encouraged me to take the extra time to observe 2015, the lessons learned and how I can carry them into my new year planning. I want to pass that encouragement along. As you sit at the brink of a new year and consider what’s to come, don’t forget to take a look back at where you’ve been and how those experiences will shape your 2016.

One Comment Add yours

  1. This was so good! Now i’m even more excited for you to come over. Also, this insight….”Many are probably familiar with Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” but we too often stop there. What is supposed to be a splendid promise is cut down to a condemning declaration. However, in context it reads: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” {Romans 3:23-24}” I’ve never thought about that before, but you’re so right. I’m going to read that verse differently from now on!

    Liked by 1 person

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