Here we are as the last of the bathwater of 2018 drains out. Personally I’m quite happy to have the plug pulled and to see the last of this year. Borrowing the words of the Queen for 1992: “1992/2018 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an ‘Annus Horribilis’. I suspect that I am not alone in thinking it so.”
The other day a friend of mine said, “At the end of every year I find myself saying that I’ll be glad to see the end of it. And then I say the same thing at the end of the following year.”
Which is why the foolish optimist in us comes up with the insane decision to make resolutions of how we’ll do better in 2019. Many have given up because they usually fail by mid-January. Others make declarations over champagne, balloons and fireworks as the clock strikes midnight – then off we plunge into the New Year.
This all sounds rather a depressing outlook as we flip the page, round the corner, crest the hill, or turn over a new leaf. Here comes the Sun/Son!
I want to live as one who is not governed by my past but learns from it then steps into the future with expectation.
Most of what is fruitful in harvesting the past is found by learning more about who I am (strengths and weaknesses) and realizing who God is with me and for me. When the focus is on myself I become miserable quickly. I read Psalm 73 a few days ago. The Psalmist describes how he nearly lost his footing by looking around and envying what others had. What made it worse was that he was caught in the sense of the utter unfairness of life – where the selfish and wicked invariably seem to prosper. “They are always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.” (73:12)
At last the writer has the revelation: “When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before You….. The earth has nothing I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (73:21-22; 25-26)
Here’s the thing ( a popular turn of phrase)…. there’s a way of making resolutions for the New Year that will greatly enhance the probability of success, partial progress, improvement, or at least movement in a positive direction.
Don’t try and be a perfectionist with your resolutions.
Where’s your focus? Do you enter 2019 declaring what you are going to try and accomplish better (with a tragic history of abject failure in the rear view mirror; like what’s going to be different this year?)?
Or do you enter 2019 in partnership with Jesus where you get to declare what is the desire of your heart and then He responds with, “Let’s do it together, lean on me.”
What lets most of us down in past resolution keeping is that we have noble goals but weak resolve. We rely on the power of positive thinking, hopeful optimism, and blind faith.
Why not try something different?
Make powerful declarations, be filled with expectation, and then with a humble and hope-filled resolve place your hand in the hand of Jesus and see what happens. What you’re declaring underneath the resolution is: “Jesus I know I don’t have the strength to see this through, I am willing but weak, I’m easily discouraged and distracted, and I get busy… you know the story.”
There’s the beginning of a mighty breakthrough right there. Then turn to Matthew 11:28-30: Jesus’ invitation and affirmation: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Rather then entering into 2019 with heroic self-delusion alone, respond with relief and a joyful expectation in the confidence that Jesus wants to be a companion. He will be a friend, an encourager, a coach; a well that never runs dry for you this year. Resolutions, not built on sand or romantic idealism, but set on the rock of His faithfulness.
His greatest desire is to see you succeed as a much loved son or daughter. Trust Him with what you don’t yet see or understand. Allow Him to take away fear, a sense of abandonment, or any other negative. Intentionally yoke yourself to His strong and broad muscular shoulders. He’ll never let you go. When you fail from time to time He will pull you through. Even when you loose your grip, He won’t.
Test this out in the next five minutes. What is your dream for 2019? You can have many or few. It’s probably undiluted and perfect; don’t worry He will help get clarity.
Describe to Jesus what it is… make it scary big and hopefully something you know He can agree with. Then thank Him for the fact that He’s going to help you step into fulfilling that vision one step at a time. Be prepared for very unexpected twists and turns, but all the way know that you are never alone.
Lean into Him. Into His grace, into His strength, into His provision, into His Father-heart, into His protection and faithfulness, into you resting in Him rather than carrying the burden for Him or trying to earn or impress. You’re already loved and accepted.
Picture yourself riding on his shoulders like a child giggles on the shoulders of his/her dad as he bounces him/her around in play. You’re safe with Him…. live there in 2019.
As you lean on Jesus (often in the humanity of friends, circumstance, and family) He will open doors so that others will find Him through leaning on you. The yoked oxen plough the dirt in the field….. and that’s where He’ll meet you and lead you and bless you….. real life, real dirt, real strength, real muscle, real grace. real pain, real healing, real hope… really!
The yoke’s on you, the burden’s on Him. God bless you more 🙂
Need someone to talk to, listen, be encouraged to navigate your present and your future? Go to Little Mountain Counselling to find out more. Not a hopeless end, but endless hope.
Thanks for that John. I always enjoy reading your writings. They give me hope and inspire me to keep focused on Jesus.Happy New Year and may many Blessings come your way.
Thank you John, well said. Happy New Year to you