There is something about New Year that spells change. It is a sign of hope that once a year we get a redo. Of course, it is an arbitrary marker, but it has power. This year, this New Year, what will we be? At this time next year, will we be all that we dreamed of, or will we be the same procrastinating, comfort loving, weight carrying individual that we were at this time last year?
I took to setting goals this year. I set many, many goals. They are all so amazing. I was looking at them this morning and I thought, “I would choose them all again”. I want to be that person. Let me give you one from each life category,
To improve my health, #4 was to find an exercise that my husband and I enjoy together. I think we hiked twice.
To increase intimacy in relationships, #4 was to have one couple over for dinner once a month. Now how hard is that, Miss Introvert?
To reduce temper outbreaks, #3 was no speaking in anger. It does still sound like a good goal.
To have varied spiritual input, #5 was to find an outside bible study to attend. I did that, once. I am excited to go back this year, though.
To increase the quality and effectiveness of the blog as a tool for God’s use, #2 was to get ahead, at least one day, on blogs by writing two, one day per week. That didn’t happen. I kind of just write as I go.
To be used more effectively, for my specific purpose in God’s work, #4 was to find a senior high devotional for my girls. I really need to do that. See, that is a great goal!
To intentionally meet the needs of others, #2 was to find a volunteer organization that interests me. I just blogged about that, so I have not found it yet, but it is coming.
To make my home a peaceful haven that expresses our family identity (I think that this one is one of the most important), #3 was to attend one marriage conference each year. Done! We made two.
So, as you can see, it is not for lack of ideas, although there may be too many. Believe it or not, there are more life categories. Instead, this year was shaped not by my desires but by divine appointment mixed with circumstance. It was crafted in such a way that I am different from when I started, but I could not have planned one day of the process.
I was reading in Luke where Jesus heals the paralytic (Luke 5:17-26). Imagine yourself a Pharisee in this scenario. A man has just been lowered through the roof and, “When he [Jesus] saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven you” (Luke 5:20, NRSV). That is pretty surprising, and the Pharisees thought so, too. They were not pleased with Jesus’ discussion with the party crasher.
But, of course, Jesus knew this. To which He said, “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? 24 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the one who was paralyzed—“I say to you, stand up and take your bed and go to your home” (Luke 5:23 & 24, NRSV). Imagine that scene. Watching this carpenter’s son forgive sins and heal a paralytic man, emphasis on the forgiving sins.
So, as you sit there with your mouth hanging open, watching Bobbie Raye stand up and walk out of the room, glorifying God and doing an awkward, atrophied, sinless dance, what do you feel? Amazement. We glorify God with this man. How can we not?
In response we say, “We have seen strange things today” (Luke 5:26b, NRSV). Without sounding disrespectful, what we believe is strange. Our sins are forgiven, isn’t that strange. Strange is the nature of our belief because it exists within the life and works of Christ. When I read scripture I see things that I just can’t explain. They are mysterious and wonderful. They are divine and strange.
I don’t really wish for you or me that we hit every goal this year. I still might not blog ahead of time because there are other things that I need to attend to besides social media, and some days there will be no post at all. Life is crafted as we go. I really understand this after 2009.
So, I wish for us a year of strange things, a year of amazement and glorifying the Father with the struggles and victories of our brothers and sisters. I wish for us, in 2010, a first row seat for the wondrous works of God in our lives, even if it involves party crashers. I pray that we are patient as He unravels His goals and His intent for our year. I pray that we prepare the way of the Lord into our lives, and make His path straight.
Have a wonderful and safe New Year’s Eve!