Raise your hand if you have never written a New Year’s Resolution, never started SOMETHING new in January, never thought to yourself, “This time I’ll ________.” For example, “This time, I’ll remember that only old school (ahem) writers still double space at the end of a sentence, so I will remember to discipline my left thumb to tap merely once at the end of a thought.”
I hope everyone’s hand is raised, because for this post to have any validity, we must be in agreement on the aforementioned point. In other words, it’s so common to herald the upcoming year with new beginnings/’new year/new you’, that many of us have put pressure upon ourselves to finally get it right this time. Please hear me…I’m not saying that exercise and eating programs are bad, nor are life plans and strategies to build more: business, margin, savings, meal planning, quality time, vacation time, relationships, etc., should be avoided. It’s very refreshing to look at the new year as a clean slate and bask in its possibilities. Who wants to relive the pain, hurt, failures, misgivings, wrongdoings, or plain old clumsiness of the previous year(s) when the new one beckons us with its possibility of success and promise?
[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]Beginnings are the flipside of endings[/pullquote]Beginnings can be great. But they are really the flipside of endings, and vice versa. My friend’s husband died last May. Thus began the end of her marriage and the start of her new life as a widow. As I’ve written before (helps me process), our adoption failed. We endured the end of our parenting relationship with our beloved children before it really began; yet this was the beginning of our life adjusting back to parenting only our biological children. My daughter will begin her first year of college next year, as she ends her high school career. When a baby is born, a new life begins – a family is made, and being a couple ends. Eating better and moving more ends feeling sluggish and unhealthy, and begins a process of health and wellness. Beginning to be mindful of setting aside blank space on the calendar might end some ‘wheel spinning’ and lack of focus, creating more time for God, self, and peeps. See how that works?
My point? Setting goals and looking ahead to ushering in the new are not bad activities, in and of themselves. However, perhaps we’d be wise to pause, just for a moment, and consider the chapter which has closed – and the lessons God has brought forth – before crashing headlong into the next chapter. I exhort us all to ask God about His plans for us, before making our own. As much as we may look forward to being finished with a previous year (so glad THAT’s behind me), we can’t know what’s around the next bend. Maybe we’ll begin and end things that we never hoped for and quite dread; or maybe we’ll begin and end marvelous, wonderful experiences. We don’t know. I suggest that one of the reasons we look forward to our New Year Resolutions is that we feel more in control when WE make the plans. In fact, we may think that life would be divine if only the world and our future was entirely within our own grasp, but it’s not. Man, this has been and continues to BE a challenge for me, because I happen to have pretty awesome plans (in my own finite, flawed mind). Yet, while I may plan my beginnings and endings, they are really in the Sovereign hands of God. As a recovering control freak, that idea unsettles me. Spoiler alert: I like being in control. I like to ‘make it happen’ (whatever ‘it’ is). And I do think it’s important to try to make things work – after all, the Good Lord gave us noggins with which to think. But He also gave us His word, His Son, and His Holy Spirit indwelling us in order to teach us the truth about other folks’ beginnings and endings and how taking control of their own lives worked for them (another spoiler alert: not very well) without first consulting, obeying, and worshiping Him. As a follower of Jesus, though, the idea that the weight of the world is off of my shoulders and securely onto His gives me great relief – joy even! The world (which includes my plans, by the way) is way too heavy a burden for us to carry, but it’s the perfect size for the God who brought it all to be. I may think I want to control my life, but I can’t remember why I walked into a room half the time!
My prayer for you is that 2016 would be a year of wonder. May it be a year of sweet new beginnings, incredible endings, and the respite of a deeper, richer love between you and your Abba to sustain you when those beginnings and endings are harder than you imagined them to be. What’s so COOL about God (besides everything) is that HE is the alpha and the omega. The beginning and the end, and Revelation 21:6 tells us that any of us who are thirsty may drink from the springs of the water of life which He freely gives! So we can trust Him with our lives from beginning to end. Praise God!
Numbers 6:24-26 (NIV)
Happy New Year.