How do you usher in a new year? Resolutions? Commitments to work out, or eat right, or save money, or de-clutter, or read your Bible more?
As this very challenging year rolls to a close, let it not go out leaving us in despair. Let us send it on with gratitude for lessons learned, most importantly, for the knowledge of the brevity and great value of life. Then let’s usher in 2021 with the greatest hope and trust in our Father God.
While all those commitments and resolutions may sound like a good thing, I find that I go strong after them for a few weeks and then return to my old habits. A more useful tradition I have developed over the last few years is the habit of finding my watchword for the new year. That started several years ago at the prompting of our pastor.
My first word was “life.” My mom had died May of that year and I had spent the next 7 months grieving. My health was not good, I was having frequent anxiety attacks. I was scheduled for a hysterectomy. It felt as if I was living in death not life.
The word came to me out of a quiet time with the Father, as usually happens each year now. I new it was time to start living again, not grieving away my hours and not being satisfied with bad health. “Life” became a crucial watchword in my life that led to a turning point. In fact, in the renewal of that year and the creative push of the Creator in my life, this blog was born. That year was a fertile year and a re-awakening. I did embrace life, and found how to truly live again.
Since that first word I’ve had several others, grace, surrender, and now strengthen and steadfast. As the Covid social distancing wore on into October and my yearly Bible reading plan was walking me through the last half of the New Testament, I came across these verses, my verses for the year:
Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. Hebrews 12:12-13 ESV
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV
They each pierced my heart. I have weak knees, physically. I sometimes feel they hold me back from the work the Lord has for me. So He’s telling me this is my year to strengthen them. I’m also at a stretching time in ministry. The second verse was a word of correction and encouragement from the Father Himself for me to keep working steadfastly. He has a purpose. It’s not in vain.
My words are dear to me. I challenge you to get to a quiet place for an extended period of time over this holiday season. Dig into the Word. Pray, pouring out you heart to the Father, but also listening in the quiet for Him to reveal your word and His purposes for you for the coming year. Pray and seek until you get your word and your verse. They will be dear to you. You will be surprised at how often the Father brings them up around you as you go through the year. You will also be surprised at what you see Him doing in and through you in relation to the words and verses He gave you.
He is a good, good Father and He has a plan for you for 2021! Let’s not go into this year with fear, nor with escape as our motivating factor. Let us go into 2021 open-eyed and alert, ready for whatever the Father brings our way. Trusting and knowing He is with us. Learning and growing in our relationship with Him. May 2021 be your best year yet in spite of any obstacles life may throw in your path. You can rest in the fact that while they surprise you, Your Father saw them coming, they did not surprise Him!