Hi there, friend.
Happy New Year.
It’s 2017 over in my corner of the world, and after a break to refresh my mind, spirit, and celebrate Christmas, I’m back once again.
I’m not sure what 2016 looked like for you. Maybe it was wonderful, full of growth and love, hope and peace, or maybe it wasn’t that great. Maybe you were stressed and worn, and maybe it was a really tough year.
I’ve seen so many complaints on social media, saying, “2016 was horrible, let’s hope 2017’s a little better.”
I feel you, friend. 2016 wasn’t an easy year for any of us.
But there’s this trend…and it happens every year. We desire to make this new year “our year,” and scribble down resolutions, or come up with defining words, and believe, “If only I work hard enough, this year will be amazing.”
We fill our heads, our notebooks, and our walls with goals, with “if onlys.”
If only I lost twenty pounds, this year would be my year.
If only I read the Bible every single day, this year would be my year. (And trust me…I wrote a semi-successful article two years ago on this very topic, and I can’t say I completely agree with myself on that issue anymore. I might talk about it in a future blog post; we’ll see.)
If only I made more friends…if only I got into a serious relationship…if only I got to travel…if only I read more books…if only I received more education…then this year would be my year, and that would be incredible.
We all want success. We like goals.
What if we fail?
What if, instead of losing weight, I gain some more instead?
What if I end up missing many days of Bible reading, or if I don’t do well in the education I choose, or if I read less books than I wanted to?
What if I lose more friends than I gain? What if my life changes beyond my control and I just get hurt?
It’s easy to put stock in something we haven’t done yet; it’s easy to commit to things without seeing what they’ll impact and how difficult they’ll be.
That being said, I want to rethink the whole issue, and ask this question: If we don’t keep our New Year’s resolutions, can we be alright with that?
Can we rest in our fixed identity in Christ, even in the midst of our failures?
I say yes.
Even when it seems like nothing’s ‘right,’ God still works.
Even in our pain (and I’d venture to say especially in our pain), we still have the opportunity to grow; to trust Christ.
I won’t deny the struggle, the frustration, or disappointment that comes from not achieving goals. To be honest, I love checking off boxes and crossing off tasks just as much as the next person, and maybe even more.
But what will we let define us this year? What we completed, or what has already been completed by Christ? Our perfect standing before God, blamelessness and total forgiveness in His sight, a purpose and destiny, and a promise of eternal life starting RIGHT NOW – doesn’t that surpass any kind of goal we could possibly reach?
Now please, don’t get me wrong – it’s fine to make New Year’s resolutions, to challenge ourselves with the beginning of a new year. Good, even.
However, what I want to get at is this: we can be just as fulfilled in our lives when we don’t meet the goals we were hoping for, because who Christ has made us is greater than anything we can ever make of ourselves.
As you go into this new year, this beautiful, sparkling 2017, remember who you are above all else.
You are a child of God, you are loved so vastly, you are holy and faultless because of what Jesus has done, and there is nothing in this world that can separate you from the love of Christ.
Happy New Year once more. Let me know what’s been on your mind these past few weeks; I’d love to hear from you!