I was driving home from work the other day and for some reason I noted how good I was feeling. It was one of those moments where I realized that I wasn’t stressed out, I wasn’t feeling pressure and I wasn’t overtired. There was peace in my heart, I felt good about life and where I’m at in it.
Typically, I don’t feel that way at the beginning of the year, it is always a busy time at work and at home there’s generally the let down after the holidays. I wondered why I felt different, and I realized that I hadn’t made my new year’s resolutions yet. It was barely a thought, not something that I imagined would make that much of a difference, but as I thought about it more I recognized that I wasn’t adding unnecessary pressures and expectations to my life.
In past years, when the calendar turns, announcing the new, the beginning, a fresh start; I take time and evaluate where I am at in life – like many others do. I determine what is lacking, I decide what needs to be strengthened, I search for things in my heart, and in my life that I think need to change, plot the journey and step out.
Once I start to walk out my new strategy, to make this the year that I finally ______, I begin the viscous cycle of daily self-assessment followed by the ensuing judgment that awards me according to whether I was “good or bad” that day. Half-way through January I’m sick of it all and decide maybe I’ll make those changes in the spring, or the summer, or maybe it’ll just happen miraculously on its own.
The last two years have presented truly unexpected challenges that put my personal plans and goals aside. Unexpected means I didn’t see them coming, I couldn’t prepare, and I didn’t really know how to walk through them. Somehow, each day the next step, the wisdom, provision, and the strength was there – with the team and family provided for me, without a long term plan, because I can’t predict the future. And somehow, looking back I see that I have grown, I have changed, I have different perspective and insight, my faith is stronger, I am more secure, I have received some of the things that I’ve been waiting for, and had surprises along the way.
As a Christ follower, I declare that He is my goal, He is the prize, and my job is to look to Him and allow Him to satiate every part of my life. But then, I go about setting goals and making plans for how to grow more, know more, become stronger in my faith, in my walk with Jesus. How can I, as the student, determine the course curriculum to prepare for eternity?
The truth is, regardless of how I see myself, my life, my growth, my future, and my purpose, it is not my own. Regardless of what road I see myself on, and what direction I think I am going, God sees the bigger picture. The truth is, I don’t know how to get to where He’s taking me, so how in the world can I map out my trip? Historically, He has brought me places and shown me things, and challenged me in ways that I could never have contrived on my own – I wouldn’t have known where to even start. I have made plan after plan after plan and very few of those plans have played out. Where am I trying to get to anyway? So I’m letting Him lead.
This year, I’m not making resolutions. I’m taking the pressure off. I’m not adding more to my list of “do’s and don’ts,”” should’s and would’s,” it seems to have enough on it. I’m not going to try to strategize a way through my inconsistent, unpredictable life to an elusive “perfect” life.
This year I will learn new things, some of my personal goals will be accomplished, I will receive things that I’ve been waiting for, I will see prayers answered (which ones – I don’t know), I will be challenged, I will get stronger, I will be wiser. I’m going to skip the part where I try to figure it all out and I’m going to just see where this road goes, one day at a time, trusting the One who has planned the journey and knows the destination. In that, I have great joy and peace.
Philippians 3:14-16 “I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward. So let those [of us] who are spiritually mature and full-grown have this mind and hold these convictions; and if in any respect you have a different attitude of mind, God will make that clear to you also. Only let us hold true to what we have already attained and walk and order our lives by that.”