Here we are approaching a new year; 2021! I remember as a child thinking that if I lived to 2020 I would be ancient. I would not call myself ancient, but I will say that with every year I am not getting younger. So here is what I have learned all of my years:
I have learned…
To not lean on my own understanding, but instead lean on the wisdom of God.
To remember that I am not the Savior of the universe; He is.
That it is easier to be kind than mean spirited, and better to be hopeful than feel hopeless.
That life is short and every day counts.
That God promised that if we would seek Him we would find Him.
That new year’s resolutions are just one more way of making pledges to do something or some things differently, that without the power of God will never happen.
I want to focus on the last one– new year’s resolutions. Many of us make them and all of us at least think about the new year hoping to make some changes. As we turn the page on 2020 and close this chapter of our lives, most of us want to forget 2020. It was a year of the world turning upside down. Each of us has a story to tell about the stress of this year. But I want to talk about what this year has the potential to give us. Perhaps we appreciate family and friends more or have found more time to reflect on what really matters in this life. 2020 for some has drawn us closer to Jesus. We have recognized our inability to change things that are out of our control and we have learned that investing in Him is all that really counts. 2020 may well be the year that turns out to be the year that changed our lives for the better. I know there have been horrific acts of violence against innocent people and that the pandemic has devastated our world in ways we never imagined; loss of jobs, beloved friends and family have died. In no way do I wish to minimize the terrible things that have happened in this year. But we all must ask ourselves the question: If God is Sovereign, (and He is) and we are His children through His Son, Jesus, then He will use all of this and turn it for good. We simply need to press into Him, seek Him and open our spiritual eyes and ears to hear His voice. He has not abandoned us, but He does long for us to pursue Him relentlessly and find Him in a deeper way. Often in our pain we do just that. We find Him in ways we never imagined.
So back to new years resolutions. As I pondered this on my walk today, the Lord whispered in my heart: Joanne, the best defense is a good offense. I wasn’t sure if it was truly the voice of the Holy Spirit, so I continued on my day until I heard it again, but this time something shifted in my heart. I recognized that the only resolution that has the power to change anything can be found in seeking the Lord with all my heart soul, strength and mind. Whatever I need, whatever I hope for, is wrapped in my dependency on HIm. I can resolve to be a better wife, or daughter or mother or grandmother. But the only resolution that will empower me to be all of these things is seeking the One who can fulfill them. Now I get it– the best defense is a good offense and the way to be on the offensive is to prepare my heart to be a place that seeks God alone; a place that becomes a dwelling place for Him to flow through me. This resolution is the only one that will change anything and everything.
Now I don’t know if this blesses you today, but I want you all to know that I can feel myself breathe easier. No false expectations this year. No matter what I need to change or do I only need one thing and that is Jesus. He will figure out the rest. Jesus’ words confirm this:
Seek first the kingdom and my righteousness and all of these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)
But few things are needed– or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken from her. ((Luke 10:42)
Jesus declared love the Lord your God with all of your heart, and with all of your soul, and with all of your mind. (Matthew 22:37)
And the prophet Jeremiah:
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.
Friends, forget all resolutions and simply seek the Lord with your whole heart. He will help you in your relationships, your jobs, your needs, your dreams, your brokenness, your need for a new start. Resolve to say: ” Just give me Jesus”.
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