A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure. (Prov. 16.9) Amp.
Just when we thought gift giving season was over, the arrival of a new year brings with it a final surprise gift all wrapped up in 2011 paper and a tag that has your name written on it. And not only a gift but one of those gifts within a gift…a two part gift if you will…the gift that keeps on giving.
The dropping of the infamous Times Square Ball and unified celebratory acknowledgment that the future has now become the present serves as a splendid large scale reminder of His grace which is never failing, His tender mercies which are new every morning and that indeed He remains the God of second chances.
The first part of this gift lies in the ability to look within and then to look ahead. Each New Year offers us all the opportunity to examine our hearts and our lives and then choose to be purposefully mindful of those areas which we would like to see different, improved and better. Wisdom says to only choose one area at a time to focus on however so that you do not become overwhelmed. Since most of us have a slew of areas in which we have not yet arrived, choosing just one point of improvement could serve to be a most challenging task.
Let’s see, which resolution should I choose this year? I don’t have to think of any new ones because I can simply choose from the plethora of resolutions from prior years which continue to remain unconquered.
Shall it be to… exercise more, drink less caffeine, spend more time reading my Bible, stop procrastinating, be more organized, be more deliberate about relationships, be more disciplined in my writing…?
The second part of the gift that a New Year extends is that we each have the opportunity to look back. We can quietly utilize several meditative moments to take into account the year which is no more and choose to be purposefully thankful for all that the Lord has done in us, for us, and through us.
Before plowing into a New Year of expectation of what we would like to see accomplished we can find hope and joy in what has already been accomplished.
Personally, as I look back over the last year I simply stand amazed. To be honest, I can’t even remember what my New Year’s Resolution was at the beginning of 2010.
What I do know for sure however is that all that the Lord had planned for me. All that He has accomplished is so much more monumental, life giving and life changing than any of those things which I could have or would have planned for myself.
I am certain that my resolution last year did not include facing and grieving the death of my mother, searching for and building relationship with a little sister whom I had never known, or finally truly forgiving, letting go of and healing from seemingly insurmountable wounds of the soul which had been inflicted upon me in my growing up years.
I had no idea of the tremendous journey that lay before me in 2010. I knew nothing of the mountaintops upon which I would stand or the deep valleys through which I would crawl. I was absolutely clueless of the many new and beautiful women that the Lord would bring into my life who would love me, encourage me, support me and speak truth to me as they journeyed along beside me loving me too much to allow me to turn away from that which needed to be faced. I could not fathom my husband proving anymore loving, faithful or trustworthy than he already had and yet he did that very thing.
I stand amazed, it is overwhelming to me and my heart is so very thankful. As 2011 dawns and 2010 dusks I can say to you that I begin this New Year as a new person…in so very many places the old has gone and the new has come.
I encourage you to take several moments as well to look back over this past year and be purposefully thankful for all that the Lord has done within your heart and life. And as you look to 2011 remain hope filled and remember that despite what difficulties you might be facing, carry Jeremiah 29:11 within your heart…For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Father, I thank you for your love, your faithfulness and your mercy. I thank you for all that you have done, are doing, and will continue to do. I thank you that this year, as always, you hold me in the very palm of your hand, I never leave your sight and you heart is for me. Help me Lord to be attentive to your Holy Spirit in this coming year. To recognize what you desire to do and to co operate in each and every area of my life. Help me LORD to always put your plans and purposes ahead of my own.