A new year is officially here and I’m welcoming it with open arms and an open heart ready to receive whatever God has in store!
I look forward to starting a new year and reflecting on what was as I consider what may be. I see January 1st as an opportunity to intentionally set my sights Above while surrendering to God’s will and way. I pray for the Lord to examine my heart and evaluate and expose areas in my life that need growth, encouragement, restriction, moderation, or conviction. It’s always an uplifting time for me that refreshes my spirit with renewed hope that guides (or redirects) me towards God’s plans and purposes for my life.
I believe setting resolutions (read: NOT expectations or self-centered obsessions) is biblical, despite the growing movement that resolves to mock and abolish positive progression in favor of complacency, mediocrity, and affirmation of unhealthy lifestyle choices/behaviors. I regard resolutions as part of the sanctification process – purifying one’s heart and mind through prayer, repentance, and spiritual practices to become more like Christ (2 Timothy 2:21, 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Philippians 2:13). Sure, this may look differently for different people but nonetheless it is a beneficial exercise that I believe should be done throughout the year to inspire spiritual growth.
As I closed out 2022, my year of seeking humility, God guided me towards a new word of focus for 2023 – TRUST. This word is quite fitting for the season of life I’m in which is a beautiful blend of chaos, busyness, and joy intersecting with faith, knowledge, experience, and truth.
Trust in the Lord is an attribute all followers of Christ need to acquire and maintain. As I contemplate what trust looks like in my life, I hope to encourage you to choose faith over fear while surrendering control of the moment for trust in the One who owns all eternity.
3 elements of TRUST I’m seeking in 2023
1.) Do the next good thing and wait for the next thing to happen.
With all my might, I cannot idle. I must be doing something whether that is working on a project, staying on top of chores, reading a book, developing or strengthening relationships, or anything else that could be classified as productive. I can’t help myself, I am a person who values progress and personal growth [spiritually, physically, relationally, intellectually, etc].
As an adult I’ve learned that progress is positive and healthy for one’s well-being if it is not pursued for the purpose of perfection or for the pursuit of righteousness. Even so, it can be difficult for a “doer” to not “do,” especially when you’re living in a world where there is a lot of work to be done. Meditating on chapter 37 in Psalms has revealed to me that “doing” is necessary but only when it is under the will and through the way of God’s plan and guidance.
God will call us forward, backward, in a certain direction, or request for us to be still. When God speaks it will be on His time and we are to be obediently respect and pursue His command. To say it differently, we are to do what He calls or directs us to do and then wait expectantly for Him to move, act, or initiate what’s next. Wherever He leads we are to follow. When God pauses, we are to remain still before we are to go again.
We don’t have to have it all figured out and we certainly don’t (and can’t) do all the things all the time. Rather, we are trust in God, do what is good, and wait, on Him, for whatever comes next.
“Trust in the Lord and do what is good;
dwell in the land and live securely.
Take delight in the Lord,
and He will give you your heart’s desires.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in Him, and He will act,
making your righteousness shine like the dawn,
your justice like the noonday.
Be silent before the Lord and wait expectantly for Him;
do not be agitated by one who prospers in his way,
by the person who carries out evil plans.
Refrain from anger and give up your rage;Psalm 37:3-9 (CSB, emphasis mine)
do not be agitated—it can only bring harm.
For evildoers will be destroyed,
but those who put their hope in the Lord
will inherit the land.”
2.) God is always working even when you are not
Piggybacking on what was mentioned in #1, is being reminded that God has never gone on vacation, taken a sick-day, or any other leave of absence. He is the Alpha and the Omega. The Almighty King who never left His throne and who has, is and always will be in control.
This truth hits me hard because I so desperately want to be used by God to bring honor, glory, and praise to His name. While I was previously blind and ignorant to realize God was and is using me through the honorable gift of parenthood (and entrusting me to raise five humans; Proverbs 22:6), I have also felt that God has work assigned for me that is outside of the home. However, I have no idea exactly what that is because there are many “irons” currently in my metaphorical fire.
I know God is at work even when I don’t see it or know what He is working on. I choose to trust in Him and cling to His promises. I feel this incredible peace as I pause and anticipate what’s next and all that will come. I sense the undercurrents of His movement and believe the time is approaching soon when I will be called forward. Until then, I’m grateful for the space He has provided me to declutter unnecessary baggage, to detox from negativity, and to appreciate where God has placed me in the present as He prepares me for the future.
I know the work He is doing will be worth the wait.
“I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”Philippians 1:6 (CSB)
3.) When you don’t know, let go
The start of every new year or new season of life is often accompanied with new rhythms and new routines. Sometimes this is welcomed, other times you wish things could go back to how they once were.
But that’s not how life works. We aren’t meant to sit in the past nor dig in our heels to remain in the present. We are designed to be pursue holiness so we can be conformed into God’s image. It isn’t always easy and at times you may not understand what the heck is going on in the world, in your life, in humanity, etc. However, it is in these moments when we can choose to steer the ship and seek our own agenda or we can surrender control and trust that God is with us, for us, will never leave us, and will continue to guide our paths closer to Him.
Because the truth is, all we know is all God has revealed to us. We have no clue what is going on behind the scenes or in the future. We don’t know where we are in the grand story of life or how it will all end, yet the Author and Perfecter of our faith desires to use us as key characters in His story…if only we will let Him write it.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,Proverbs 3:5-6 (CSB)
and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know Him,
and He will make your paths straight.”
Trust is faith in action and faith is having both good works and unwavering belief (and trust) in the one and only good God who knows you, loves you, and has good plans and purposes for you.
There is so much uncertainty in the world and yet, there is unquestionable stability found in the Maker of the world. I pray 2023 is a year of refinement of your faith and realignment with God’s will. I hope you will be challenged, convicted, and strengthened as you seek spiritual growth, discern truth from lies, and experience maturation of faith.
The fire is a blazing! May you enter into it with the One who holds the future, bearing the heat and intensity of the moment, while trusting He will prepare you to boldly and brilliantly withstand the ultimate tests of our time.