Monday, December 29, 2014

The Inevitable New Year's Resolution Post

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." I think it's safe to say that 2014 has been quite a ride! I stand amazed at all that God has done - miracle after miracle, healing after healing, provision, restoration, renewal, forgiveness, freedom, peace, truth, love... I'm thankful for this blog, which stands as a testimony to God's power and perseverance in my life. Reading back over my posts from the past year, I am utterly overwhelmed by the grace and goodness of God.

As 2015 approaches, however, I have to admit to being a bit of a cynic when it comes to the idea of resolutions, particularly this time of year. When I was younger, I would faithfully, year after year after year, write out my New Year's Resolutions every December 31st, ready and willing to change my life and the world! And inevitably, by around the middle of January (or February if I was lucky), my fire would burn out and life would slip back into its usual groove. This was nearly always accompanied by a generous helping of guilt. It isn't much wonder that I finally gave up on the whole thing - it just wasn't worth it.

This year feels a little different, however. Maybe it's because the big 4-0 is looming ever nearer (12 days - eek!), but almost in spite of myself, a word and a verse have floated to the top of my hazy sub-conscience. The word is "overcomer". The verses are from Hebrews 12:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders
and the sin that so easily entangles.
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame,
and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 
Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners,
so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:1-3

I've "thrown off" something pretty significant lately - something I've hung onto for the longest time. I finally arrived at the place where I was willing to surrender it to God, come what may. It wasn't worth what it was costing me. At first, it left a huge, gaping hole in my heart - but that hole has already been filled to overflowing by my gracious and generous and patient heavenly Father. Here's how He did it: In the process of obediently throwing off this "sin that so easily entangles", I received another life-altering revelation about my past and how it was affecting my present. (I'm so incredibly thankful that God doesn't dump everything on us at once, but reveals truth as we are ready to receive it and incorporate it into our lives!) To say that this one hit me completely out of the blue would be an understatement - my head was spinning with the suddenness and significance of it all. It explained so much! It wasn't something I'd ever thought to wonder about before, but when brought to my attention, it was hard to imagine how I'd missed it. It completely transformed how I perceived the aforementioned situation that appeared to be such a huge, awful,  un-conqueror-able thing. In the light of this new revelation, I can see more clearly, and evaluate more accurately this particular tendency of mine, and consequently the version of the issue I'm currently dealing with. 

I can see now that I was trying to solve a deeper spiritual problem with a surface-y human solution. I had planned to simply remove myself from the situation, but what God wanted to do was to meet the need that was in my heart. I was treating the symptoms; God got the root of the issue and gave me the truth I needed for healing and freedom. He is so good!

But I don't think the revelation would have come as readily if I hadn't finally been willing to surrender it all. It was through this act of obedience, however misguided, that I was made ready to receive the truth I needed to really make things right. What God showed me through this situation resulted in beautiful healing, not only in this particular case, but it changed how I view so many of my past choices and actions, and freed me from the guilt that I had carried forward for far too long. (huge sigh of relief...)

And so, as 2014 comes to a close, I'm excited to see what God will do in the year to come, both in me and through me! I'm anticipating unprecedented victories - while acknowledging that this means even bigger challenges to overcome. I'm ready; God has been equipping me - this past year has served to strengthen my faith and increase my joy and deepen my experience of God's presence and peace and power in my life. I recognize, more than ever, that I still have a lot of growing to do - so much to learn and so much wisdom to gain. But I am convinced, more than ever, that God is fully able to carry me through any difficulty that comes my way, and to make me more than a conqueror in any situation - all for His glory! I'll run with perseverance the race marked out for me, fixing my eyes on Jesus. There's no doubt that I'll fear, I'll fall, I'll fail - but I am confident that God will be more than enough, more than equal to any task or test. He is unfailingly faithful - hallelujah!

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