The holidays are now behind and a new year stands brand spanking new before us… Now is the time of reflection — of appreciation for all that God has helped us to endure and of all that we hope for in the future. We have plans to make, ideas to cultivate.
Of course, life is always so much more complex than the lists we make of our goals and resolutions. Writing something down, committing to it, requires more of us than just our good intentions. It requires focus, action, consistency… I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I have been trying to lose the same ten pounds for seven or more years. Still, it’s on there, right along with eating whole foods and organizing my closets and drawers. Maybe - just maybe - I will get to cross these off in the months to come.
The thing about goals and resolutions, is that they don’t account for the messy stuff. The breakdown of cars or marriages, the need for a kid to get through a difficult spot and for you to help them through it, job changes or losses… We get taxed in all kinds of ways emotionally, mentally and fiscally.
Unless you are good friends with Tony Robbins or some other motivational guru, it’s difficult to stay pumped and focused. We would like to think that “This time, by golly, nothing is going to stop me!” But something does. It almost always does.
Are we to simply give up before we even start? Or are we just not even supposed to bother to make goals? Heavens, no. I think it is always good to have something we are working towards, saving for, or working on, even if it’s just ourselves.
As for me, I have a pretty audacious set of things I am focusing on that I want to accomplish. I’ve been through a lot these last couple years. I also have much that I am grateful for. But I am entering a season of believing that the seeds that I have planted will finally come to harvest. I am expectant, but I know that even in doing my part, God is the benefactor.
Good or bad, right or wrong, I know things will happen in this year that I will be powerless to do anything about. No matter how hard I try, no matter how much I believe in myself, not all my efforts will be rewarded as I hope, while others will turn out even better.
Juxtaposed with my every intention, my every wish, prayer, and goal, comes the very real truth that I am not in control. I can only control my attitude, my faith, my obedience. God will take all of this and do with it what only He can do. Supernaturally, things will happen and be achieved. And, when they aren’t, I will still praise Him.
I am writing this to say that I surrender. Not in a giving up sort of way, but in the understanding that not everything that I put on my list will happen as I’d like. It will instead turn out as God deems for my life and the plans He has for it. He knows the end from the beginning, and I can only choose to walk the path in the direction my heart is led and expect to see His hand in all that is to come.
I will never stop striving for better days, better relationships, provision, and success in my endeavors. God wants this of us. He wants to see our faith in action and to know that we will use our gifts, mixed with what He has placed within us, to achieve things big and small.
But I surrender every outcome to Him.
The best words I know about this come from the Serenity Prayer ~
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
May this new year bring you all that your heart desires. And even in your disappointments, never forget that He has you, He knows you, and He loves you.