2018 – already in full swing and leaving me behind —
the resolutions I should have set in motion…
the plans to change my reaction to everyday distractions…
the fresh start that inspired me to dream big dreams.
A new year…a fresh beginning…new resolutions…renewed commitments…anticipation for a changed life and better results—what great intentions. Then kaboom! Not even two weeks in and goals are crumbling and being pushed aside. Unpredicted challenges curtail best laid plans. What went wrong? Is there still time to redeem a fresh start? Why can’t this year be different?
We have all been here before in some way, shape or form, but I wonder if we foresee a new beginning in the proper way? Except for New Year celebrations, nothing really changes as the gong sounds, fireworks flash, and shouts are heard around the world heralding in a new year. Or did we expect a magical change to make all things new and once again right as we walked into Day 1 of 2018? Pretty much our lives return to the same routines, but we desire our choices to be set to change mode overnight.
I realize when I become resolved to make drastic changes in my life, I am actually trying to orchestrate my future. Change can be a great thing, but it can also produce a mindset that says life is all about me and my priorities which means I forget about living each day as a gift and being in the moment to experience the new day unfold as God has planned. If I am not in the present, then I am in a place I do not belong because the future, even tomorrow, is an enigma I never fully comprehend even when all my fleshly efforts run at full throttle. What amazes me about my reasoning is that I love a good mystery—a good who-done-it story that I do not want to put down because once I reach the conclusion, the action is over and there’s nothing more to anticipate.
Looking at 2018 as a mystery intrigues me. There’s something about that perspective that leaves me in awe and actually clears my thought process. If I am not trying to figure out tomorrow, I can more fully acknowledge and walk in the moment. But it is more than that…I want to face each day anticipating that God goes before me, believing He has plans for me in this new year even though they may be unidentified at present. This requires me to put my trust in our sovereign God, believing He knows best, especially when unexpected challenges come.
But it is more than that…I must be an active participant in the on-going development of the plot; my responsibility is to be in communication with God. He is always there waiting; it’s me who fails to take the time to commune and comprehend through prayer the wisdom and guidance God has for me. Too often, I must confess, my prayers are self-centered. I just want my expectations answered so that a few of the unknowns in my life can be solved. It becomes easy to ask, then sit back and wonder if God is going to answer my specific request. I even omit the option on how He might answer because I am so focused on what I want to happen even if the prayer is interceding for someone else. Once again, I am looking for an outcome that is down the road…in the future.
But it is more than that…as the plot thickens in a great mystery so life’s circumstances can become complicated with unexpected detours and disappointing encounters. Even relationships become draining at times. Doubts can creep in, worry becomes second-nature, questions go unanswered, and the chapters just get very difficult to maneuver much less accurately interpret. The pathway ahead appears never-ending and impossible to figure out.
But it is more than that…What about today? There should be anticipation as to what God is going to do through my prayers in the present. The importance of solving a mystery is working through the steps to a conclusion, finding answers along the way. It’s living in the moment and embracing the opportunities that come or the people that cross my pathway during any one particular day. If I am always looking for what is going to happen tomorrow, I totally miss out on today. There should be an expectancy in believing that He will answer, but I need to leave the how in His hands, be prepared to do my part as He leads me, and trust Him for the outcome, walking through each day in the present–not wasting precious time looking back or peering forward.
I am anticipating 2018 being a mystery that unravels as I journey through growing in prayer and living more intentionally in that realm. This is something different for me, but retirement has helped prepare me for this new perspective. I need more of God’s GRACE each day in order to accept the challenges, to face the unknowns, and to receive His blessings along the way. I want my eyes to be open to see more, my ears to listen more clearly, and my heart to love with a compassion that others sense without words. I can only achieve these ambitions through time with my Creator, the One who has given me breath for another day’s adventure.
Mother Teresa put it this way, “Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.” Prayer for me personally has often been a mystery because I make it too complicated. My deepest prayers have been in the form of requests, and the Bible tells us to ask believing. Stories of answered prayer abound for me. Nevertheless, I yearn to hear His voice more and mine less, for I am slowly and surely appreciating more of the Savior who wants to touch my heart with a LOVE and GRACE only He can give. I want prayer to be more than the asking.
But it is more than that…Receiving what God desires for me is my responsibility, and that is the mystery I am striving to work on unraveling. Here is where it gets difficult, for I have to be an active participant. Yielding to God requires me to open my hand to His and hold on tight, allowing Him to guide my way even when my mind says to do it my way. Furthermore, yielding to God is accepting His plans and His gifts with gratitude, regardless of what each new day brings. Time with Him is precious…should come naturally… not composed with flowery words or rehearsed petitions. What I am discovering about this mystery is that it continually unfolds, it keeps me in suspense, it allows me to focus, it inspires me to keep on seeking…
God’s promise holds true: “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29: 12-13
2018 lies ahead with undetermined possibilities and undiscovered opportunities. Be willing to journey with me into the intriguing world of prayer, communing with the God of the universe with your whole heart. Each of us can journey through our individual pathways, the mystery progressing and unfolding throughout the year.
But it will be more than that…