I honestly have never been one for New Year’s Resolutions. I honestly feel like any day is a good day to start making better choices in any and possibly all areas of one’s life. Sure, probably back in my twenties, I made resolutions. I probably did not keep them a minute and a half.
If you make resolutions, I think that is awesome, no judgement. You go ahead and do you.
But I have found that more often that once every 365 days I need to pull on the reigns, come screeching to a halt and hand them back to God. I do always like to set goals. And usually toward the end of the year, I like to reflect over the year gone by and prayerfully consider how I could have made it better.
Last year, I did feel the usual yearning to dig in my heels and clean out my spiritual closet for the coming year. I knew I needed it. Every so often it’s a must. I prayed a lot about it asking God to show me some direction for the new year and He was pretty silent. I saw everyone posting their “word” for 2018. Things like “courageous” and “fierce” and “love”. Those are all great I thought, clicking the red Insta-heart and the blue thumbs up. But I just didn’t feel a “word” in my spirit. I really felt all kinds of words. But nothing I wanted to be my mantra for the new year.
Later in January 2018, thumbing through prayer and devotional notebooks I keep, I came across something and realized that 2018 would be the year of less of this… blaming the devil, for everything and anything. Anything difficult, inconvenient, scary, and just plain hard to walk through. And so, I resolved in my heart to change that. Little did I know that 2018 was going to bring some difficult days and I was going to feel like the enemy was having a free for all.
And God already knew that I was going to need to get it together and see it all for what it was… God working out His purpose in my life.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 NIV
I wrote a post on January 22, 2018 titled, “What Did You Learn?”, the point of that post was to be clear with myself about one thing, 2018 will be the year where I would stop blaming the devil for everything. At the end of the post, I was hopeful that at the end of 2018, I would have risen above the urge to do so.
So, over the last year, whenever something was less than ideal and I started to be really aggravated about the situation there were many times I started to say, “This is nothing but the work of the devil”.
I would stop myself and take a deep breath, remembering that I was going to be more intentional in 2018. Sure, I’m human and a few times my flesh won. But honestly, it didn’t happen very often. I spent quite a bit of time over the last year thinking about what it means to belong to Christ, to walk alongside Him through the trials of life, and also celebrate the year’s victories that were possible because of Him. I spent a lot of time thinking about Job, too.
Life got pretty dark for him, he wasn’t thrilled about it, but he kept his faith in God. I thought about how God’s hand covered everything Job owned, everything Job loved. I thought about how God knew Job’s heart to be faithful and true. And God pulled back His mighty hand, laid down the rules and let Satan test Job.
No, thank God, my year has not been anywhere near as difficult as what Job endured in that season.
And although the year brought lots of great moments, other times, it was hard. There were many times that I felt like one thing would pass and not long after another problem would arise.
And yes, that’s life. But sometimes life does gets really hard. Even if you’ve proclaimed you’ll be “brave” or “fearless” or “tenacious” in the coming year. There’s always going to be a moment when you don’t feel that way.
But as hard times came and went this past year. I realized that whatever made its way to me, would have to certainly pass through the hand of God. He would have to give it a nod, He would have to move the hedge. He would have His reasons. They would be merciful and good for me in time.
And if I spent the whole time with the wrong perspective, I would miss the opportunity to grow and refine my faith.
So, over the last year, I’ve sat quietly at the feet of Jesus. At times, afraid, sometimes full of tenacity and optimism. But always, reminding myself that it all comes from the same hand. So, I need to learn to breath that truth in, if I am walking in truth, in love, in light, it all comes from the same hand.
He knows best.
Is that easy to understand? Nope. Is that scary at times? Yep. Do I have to rebuke fear and trust God often. Yep.
But I am not going to waste time and energy fussing about the devil. If I’m right with God and hard times show up, I’ll trust God is still there and I’ll trust He has a reason to let me walk through them.
So, 2018, that’s what I learned. I already knew it, sadly. But I got too focused on whatever was going pear shaped and less on what I know to be true about God.
And I’m going to take it right on in to 2019.
I hope you will too. Have a Happy New Year…
Love in Christ,