A new year.
A clean slate.
A simple plan.
Every year starts the same way for me. A list of how I am going to do things better, do things simpler, make healthy changes, begin a yearlong Bible study. Find my One Word for the year. Make a new plan. Start over.
Maybe you know what I mean?
A year ago we had just moved to a new house. I signed up to become a disciple at church. I was planning on upping my 5K to a 10K. I was going to lose 50 pounds. I was going to read a book a week. I was … I was … I was! (Notice the trend here)
So how did my year end?
I visited 17 states, had a texting relationship with my disciple sister, slept in my new house less than half the year, had a run-ending surgery on my ankle, ended 2014 living in an RV at the end of a runway in Houma, LA and gained 10 pounds.
As I pondered the year, I looked back through my journal to see what I might have done wrong. Did I not pray about the plans I made? Did I not carefully ponder each decision before committing to any activity? I even circled Proverbs 16:3: “Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.” Discouragement settled heavily on my soul as I tried to decide just what I could have done differently. Where had I gone astray?
As He always does, God wrapped His loving arms around me to whisper some truths to my soul.
First, He will never take me down a path He didn’t intend for me to be on. He has seen every step I will take before I lift my foot off the ground.
Second, just because He sets me out on a particular path, that doesn’t mean that it will go the way I have planned. Proverbs 16:9 is a great reminder that “we can make our plans but the LORD determines our steps.”
Lastly, everything that occurred to me this year was because He had bigger plans for me than I could see. He led me to Romans 8:28 to remind me that “God works for the good of those who love Him.” And oh how much I love Him!
In spite of the setbacks, so much good happened this year. Two grand babies were born, healthy and strong. An adoption made another family whole. Two college degrees were finished. A family reunion happened between 3 very broken generations. A first birthday was celebrated.
God has never once left our side. His Holy Spirit has whispered which path to take, which step is the right one. It wasn’t what I had planned but it was everything that He had in mind for me.
Too often we “resolve” to start over every January 1. To fix all that we see wrong with our lives. We think that because we didn’t “accomplish” everything we set out to do the year before, we have somehow failed. But what if it turned out exactly as HE wanted it to turn out? What if your trials were your path? What if your disappointments were something He wanted you to have so you would have to turn to Him in a situation you were trying to control?
The apostle Peter reminds us of a promise Christ has given us. “So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does” (1 Peter 5:10 MSG).
This year, resolve to lean on Him more and on self less.
It is hard. I am not going to lie. Our human desire to control our destiny is so strong. You will struggle to let go. But you can. You must. It is the only way you will find peace. More importantly, realize that you don’t need to start over every year. You just need to keep moving forward in His perfect will, remembering that “He delights in every detail of (our) lives” (Psalm 37:23 NLT).
“The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become — because He made us. He invented us. He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be. It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to His personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own.” ― C.S. Lewis
What details will you let Him handle for you?