Every year I experience pretty much the same stages you might go through…denial, napping, procrastination, more napping, starting my diet tomorrow, and finally facing the Christmas decorations and gift returns that I can not put off for another day…and yet I do.
I really am excited about the new year, though, I was just hoping to have one more week before it rolled in. My family and I were having way too much fun playing with our new puppy, Riley, and playing a new-found old love, backgammon! We watched all our favorite Christmas movies and ate everything we could think of but I still wasn’t ready to move on…not quite yet. New Year’s Eve came and went and then New Year’s Day so I feel I must join the land of the living in admitting it is indeed 2023.
What wonderful, terrifying things would this year hold? My new calendar lay there crisp, clean, and empty, yet, somehow in that lifeless state, it seemed to mock me in my ignorant optimism of what the year would bring. Days and weeks, then months will pass, and I will begin to fill it with the mundane right alongside the extraordinary. One page as boring as a grocery list could quite possibly find itself right across the page from a new birth announcement or a wedding date.
I have to remind myself that this lovely new calendar doesn’t determine what gets written on the pages but, rather, I do. I like the thought of that — imagining myself with my fanciful new pens writing down amazing vacation destination dates and details for projects to complete on our new house. I like the power I feel as I look at day 1 of the new year … seeing a fresh year ahead and knowing I am the one with the power to determine my steps.
Just as that thought barely washes over me I am instantly reminded that I am not the one who determines my steps. It isn’t up to me as to my successes or failures. I remember Jesus is the strength and inspiration for my life and my days. I can plan my steps but the Lord determines them. “A person’s steps are directed by the Lord, How then can anyone understand their own way?” (Proverbs 20:24). There are so many verses dealing with our plans and tomorrow. The basic idea is that we can plan but, ultimately, God is the one who has the say in our lives and our future.
I really like that truth. I find it comforting because I make so many mistakes when I am flying solo. Without God guiding and directing my path I am hopelessly lost– ask anyone who knows me!!!
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes (James 4:13-14).
To the New Year…. may it be incredible and totally dependent on Jesus.