Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Inevitable New Year's Post - 2016 Edition

It's December 27th as I sit down to write this. All the anticipation leading up to Christmas, delightful as it's been, has come and gone. The gifts have been purchased, wrapped and opened (and some already broken or lost). The turkey dinner has been planned, prepared and consumed, reduced to a few meager leftovers. The decorations have already taken on a bit of a forlorn look, and will soon be packed away. It's time to start looking ahead.

I've always loved the idea of new beginnings - I think that's how we're wired. New days, weeks, months, years hold much appeal; so many opportunities to wipe the (grimy, filthy, disappointment-stained, failure-covered) slate clean and start fresh.

I gave up making New Year's resolutions long ago - it was just too discouraging, falling short year after year after year...But I can't resist the lure of the mother of new beginnings. In more recent years, I've been drawn to the notion of a word - a single word to help focus the fresh start to come.

I'm the first to admit that I have a terrible memory - but if it serves me correctly (no guarantee), my word for 2014 was "thanks" and my 2015 word was "overcomer" (which apparently is not technically a word). As crazy as those two years were, the words were useful in defining my focus (when I could remember them :) ). 

And now...the moment you've all been waiting for...drum roll, please...

My word for 2016 is..."ALL". 

I played around with a few different ideas as I considered my focus for the year - like "trust", "faith" and "surrender". But none of those were broad enough to encompass everything I wanted to include. What's more all-encompassing than "all"? :D

So here's what I mean. As I thought about what I want my life to look like, I realized (not for the first time) that there are many areas that I haven't surrendered - places where I just want to do my own thing - with no heavenly interference, thank-you-very-much. I used to think that to surrender my life to God meant giving up a lot of things, keeping my feet on the "straight and narrow", and being a missionary in Africa. 

I was afraid to surrender completely. So I just didn't. 

The thing is, the more I get to know who God really is, the less scary the idea of surrender becomes. He doesn't want to steal my joy, He wants to BE my joy! Instead of a tyrannical, hostile take-over, God invites me gently into His best, into His peace that passes understanding, into His love that knows no limits. 

This is a lot harder to explain than I makes so much sense in my head :) Here are the two verses that inspired my word:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart 
and lean not on your own understanding; 
in all your ways submit to him
in a,
    and he will make your paths straight. 
Proverbs 3:5-6


And whatever you do, 
whether in word or deed, 
do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, 
giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:17

This year, more than anything else, I want to practice mindfulness. I want to be aware of my thoughts, of how I spend my time and money, of how I relate to others, of how I live. So many of us, none more than I, tend to just let life happen to us - and try to hang on for the ride! 

This year, I want to consciously, deliberately, submit myself to my God. I want to respond to His loving invitation with intentional, joyful discipline - to do all of life with Him, to be empowered by His spirit and filled with His joy. To embark upon an unknown adventure tale; a small but significant character in His grand and glorious story! 

Happy New Year, dear friends! May you know and experience God's presence and peace and power in new and exciting ways as you journey along your own particular paths this year! 

What's your word (or verse, or resolution or whatever...) for 2016?

1 comment:

  1. Great Post, Joy!

    It actually goes along wonderfully with the passage - by Matthew Fox - i read in devotion today:

    "I ponder much and reflect in my human sense how wonderful my soul is." (Mechtild of Magdeburg)

    "How often do you ponder the wondrous nature of your soul? How it gives life and meaning to your senses? Do you stop once a month, a week, once an hour to appreciate your inner self - the joy and beauty, the wonder and delight, the thoughts and dreams that go on inside of you? Can you remember the last time you did this? If not, take a break from whatever distracts you - television, work, compulsive habits - and do so. It is time well spent.

    I would like to share your post on the OSLC Facebook page (or ask you to do that) if you would be okay with that.

    Epiphany...yes please!