|Many people look forward to the new year for a new start on old habits. ~Author Unknown|
One day into the New Year, and I still can’t come up with any resolutions . . . or anything much to say . . . we feel like we’ve been sucked up into a whirlwind of people, food, fun, memories, delights, and a few too many Christmas cookies. This time last year the following observation was the closest thing I came to, making a resolution:
Whatever commands your hope will control your heart, and what controls your heart will direct your words and behavior. (Paul Tripp) (January 1, 2014)
Ryan Bell, chose an unusual of set of commands and controls for a Christian pastor in 2014, and discovered he was no longer a Christian after living a year as an atheist. (Link to article) I don't understand how he did it – but I can see that embracing practices antithetical to one’s profession can have many repercussions. What if I chose to take a year off from my marriage, and live like I wasn’t married to Doug? First, I don’t think he’d give me a year -- our relationship would quickly break down, and I wager, he might not return my phone calls.
So, let’s look at what hope controlled me.
When I skim the journal I kept last year, the hope that God is who He told Moses He was, saw me through – but not without detours through major skirmishes with silliness, sadness and self-absorption.
For as fast as last year went – I see days upon days of beauty and delight, and God’s faithfulness. Yet, I know what I was thinking, even as I tried to sound “spiritual.” I hear gnawing little “Yes, but’s . . .” like the rats who sharpened their teeth on the wiring in my former car. (Rat-tled; Those Rascally Rodents Return)
I got around to completing the Year End Reflections’ “query” that I recommended in early November. Looking at the highlights, the disappointments and the game-changes for 2014, so many people I know have suffered staggering losses – horrifying experiences. Even the most modest inventory gets me off the pity pot! I am grateful to be alive, having the wherewithal to remember and resolve!
10 Highlights – Accomplishments, Best Memory
1. Being ALIVE to ruminate!
2. Enjoying my best friend and husband
3. Family reunion at a family wedding
4. Meeting our newest grandchild
5. Seeing other grandchildren perform in a Christmas recital
6. Completing gift book of art projects
7. Remembering Barbara Black
8. Gaining the trust of a few women who want sobriety
9. Deepening friendships
10. Getting another commission on a painting – and finishing it!
10 Disappointments – Failures, Missed Opportunities
1. Broken relationships that remain as unhealed wounds
2. Failure to hear what others were trying to say
3. Not doing what I knew I should have done, could have done or said
4. Doing what I should not have done
5. Seeing the cunning, baffling power of addiction
6. Big starts to projects -- too many remain unfinished!
7. Caring more about my issues than others
8. Fear of others, real and imagined
9. Grumbling, worrying and griping about stuff I can’t control
10. Ignoring what I can control.
3 Things You Focused on – What you put the most of your time into
3 Things You Forgot – What you didn’t get around to
1. God – that He is always faithful even when I am not.
2. Others – that many, many have wisdom worth applying.
3. Self – Just because I have been through a lot, doesn’t mean I know it all.
Reflection. How does this inform your plans for the New Year?
1. Don’t live like I doubt God is, or that He is beyond discovery or knowing. (Jeremiah 29:13)
2. Or, that His word is not wise counsel for me. (Psalm 19, 119)
3. Although all the highlights in the year have had depressing shadows, and
4. All the disappointments were not without glimmers of light, which were not always initially apparent,
5. God left blessed fingerprints of His grace.
6. The biggest blessing this year, as always, has been the people – many and varied -- and I don’t want to forget in the New Year that those I love are only on loan. Don’t take people for granted! (and get over being taken for granted!)
7. Today is all I have --therefore, spend my time wisely. (Try Harder)
8. In 2015, I choose to place my mustard seed-sized hope in the God who sees me, and in His word, which understands me. (Timothy Keller, The King’s Cross.)