It’s only early December, but if you’re anything like me, you’re already thinking ahead to 2020.
Now, that’s not to say that I’m not looking forward to Christmas…I totally am! After all, it IS the most wonderful time of the year. However, it does signal the end of the year and the dawning of a new one, which can bring about a wide range of feelings - excited, anxious, indifferent – just to name a few.
So, let’s talk about these 3 for a bit, shall we?
If you’re excited for the New Year ahead, you either killed it in the goals department this year or you’re looking forward to the new year to give it another go. In any case, kudos to you for embracing life – good and bad – being excited for new things. Keep that same energy and find someone to bring along with you. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up…”. Life is better in community, so don’t keep all that excitement to yourself. Share your testimonies of God’s faithfulness to encourage others, pray for someone…slow down and actually go back to walk alongside someone who might be lagging behind. “…continue to consider how to motivate one another to love and good deeds,” (Hebrews 10:24).
If you’re a wee bit or a whole lot anxious, it happens. I once read that as Christians we tend to look at the ‘big’ sins and overlook the ‘insignificant’ ones. That’s not you right? Of course not. As Christ followers we know that there’s really no difference in sin. Sin is sin is sin. The consequences may vary but sin…all sin…is knowing what is right and not doing it (James 4:17). The Bible doesn’t explicitly say that worrying is a sin, but Joshua 1:9 (one of a few verses on worry and anxiety) does say “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” What’s the opposite of strong? What’s the opposite of courageous? Do anxiety and worry make you afraid and discouraged? So yeah…that anxiety…that worry…give it over to Jesus. He can handle it way better than your magnificently feeble attempts. Jeremiah 17:7-8 says “7 But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. 8 They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Friend, it might feel hard to let go of the worry and anxiety…we’re here for you. If you need a listening ear, encouragement, or would like to talk about this some more, just reach out…that’s what we’re here for. No judgement.
All right…all the indifferent people raise your hands! Ok no…don’t raise your hand. Have you read Psalm 8 recently? Boy do I love, love, love that chapter. I mean it’s one of those chapters that really leaves you thinking ‘who am I that you’re mindful of me?’…well that might be because that’s actually a verse in the chapter. But that aside, David speaks of God’s majesty and bigness and then asks himself ‘how can a God SO big, care about little me’. Notice David didn’t ask ‘are you mindful of me’, he said ‘who am I that you are mindful of me’. Small but big difference there. If you’re indifferent about the year ahead, remember God made you. He made you for a purpose. Maybe it’s time to lean into God’s word and prayer to find out what He has planned for you for the upcoming year. I bet it’s something perfectly suited for you…something that He wants you to get excited about. Listen God loves you and when you begin to get passionate about your purpose or even just get motivated about finding your purpose…He sees and honours that. Lamentations 3:25 says it quite clearly “God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks.”
I’m looking forward to 2020. To see what God is going to do in and through us individually, our families and our church family. I don’t do resolutions (ain’t nobody got time for that!), but I do pray about one word that God wants me to focus on and live out each year. It’s not my idea…no patented rights to it, so use it if you want. Right now, you can start seeking God for what He has planned for you. Well, not right, right now, cause you’re reading this. But once you’re done reading this (and maybe sharing it with a friend as encouragement?), set aside some time ask, seek and knock (Matthew 7:7-12).