A sparkly ball dropping. A midnight’s kiss. Streamers. Noisemakers. The singing of Auld Lang Syne. Reflection. Goal-setting. Planners. Resolutions. New beginnings. A new you.
All of these mark the end of a year past and the coming of a new. Not surprising, I find myself emotional as I look back at 2015. It was a challenging year by many accounts, but somehow through it all, there was always a glimmer of beauty, hope, healing, and love. Lots and lots of love.
New Year’s resolutions have never been my thing. (I mean, let’s be real, how many of us have forgotten about our resolutions after a few days, weeks, or months into the new year anyway?) Instead, I have come to know each moment as an ever changing opportunity for growth in my life. And you know what? Jesus, not once, tells us that we require a new year for a fresh start!
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
As His creations, we are made anew each day! Thank God for that!
Through the atonement of Christ, we can be freed from the sins of yesterday. We have been extended the amazing gift of God’s loving grace and forgiveness. And as we reconnect with our Father, our Creator, our God…our hearts become whole again and we are made one, with Him.
So while our New Year’s resolutions may absolutely be positive changes in our lives (and I by no means want to put the kibosh on them!), I pose this question: Where are your motivations stemming from?
Your ego? The desires of your heart? Your idea of the world's standards? Or...from your unique love walk with The Lord?
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” (Proverbs 14:21)
As I personally reflect on the past year, I see 2015 as a turning point in my life. After living many years in captivity, I finally surrendered and released the grip that the enemy had on my life. So long, insecurity! Farewell, my fears! Au revoir, self-centeredness! Adios, perfection! None of you have been missed…not even a tiny bit! You see, God was with me all along, revealing Himself. But 2015 was the year that my vision was restored. No longer was I blind; I could see Him shining brightly before me. My guiding light.
He taught me that I am perfectly woven as His beautiful creation.
“For you formed my I inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139: 13-14, NIV)
He taught me that I have purpose.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)
He taught me to fear not.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9, NIV)
He taught me to stop pleasing the world.
“If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:19, NIV)
He taught me to be bold.
“On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.” (Psalm 138:3, NIV)
And he taught me to lay down my life.
“Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:39, NIV)
Yeah, Yeah, I know I’ve said it before and probably sound like a broken record by now, but through it all, I’ve learned that my life has absolutely NOTHING to do with ME, and absolutely EVERYTHING to do with HIM! While we are just specks of dust, our small stories play a valuable role in the big story of God’s creation. And all of it matters.
So bring it on 2016. I look forward to more of my story unfolding as I put my focus on obeying God, without hesitation. I will humbly submit to My Awesome Creator and follow Him, because ultimately, He has control of the paintbrush. It is His right as Lord. No, it won't always be easy. Sometimes the actions He tells us to take might be small. But, other times they will be big! And sometimes they will be downright scary when we don’t know where He's taking us, or how we'll get there! And that, my friend, is where our faith is tested.
He is Almighty. He is Compassion. He is Creator. He is Deliverer. He is Eternal. He is Faithful. He is Forgiveness. He is Grace. He is Great. He is Father. He is Friend. He is Kind. He is King. He is Holy. He is Healer. He is Joy. He is Just. He is The Lamb of God. He is Light. He is Love. He is Mercy. He is Patient. He is Power. He is Present. He is Peace. He is Protector. He is Provider. He is Redeemer. He is Righteous. He is Savior. He is The Rock. He is Sovereign. He is Shepherd. He is Truth. He is Victorious. He is Wisdom.
This is the never changing character of our God. How awesome is He!
And while we enjoy our little black dresses, fun celebrations, and midnight kisses, let’s remember to make Him the focus of our 2016. So, get out that popcorn and watch on as He reveals His beautiful story in your life, and mine!
Happy New You! Today, and every day.