A New Year.

Why is it that the new year triggers so much hope for people? I'm not saying it's bad. But it really makes me wonder what is built into our make up that connects with the idea of a fresh and new beginning.

When I re-accepted Christ into my life in my early twenties, I honestly hoped for a glowing change. One that would lead the way for me. That I would be "magically" transformed. I wanted to be great for God. And I honestly wanted it without the effort that needs to go into growth, personal or not. I secretly hoped that my recommitment to Him would make the path easy and clear. How naive was I? Well, when times are easy, it's easy to think that we have it all so sorted. But when the path becomes bumpy, gruelling and downright ugly, that is when we are truly tested and when we truly grow.

Why, may you ask, am I bringing a rather "dark horse" start to the beginning of this post? Why am I not beginning it with some flowery statement of hope. Good tidings? All the feel good things? Well, truthfully. I am.

If things are hard for you now? It means you are growing. It means you are being refined. It means you are headed in the right direction! It means that you are being gifted, even if doesn't feel like that, with the opportunity to grow closer to God and become more like Christ through your struggles. Doesn't that sound like the best hope of all?

I have spent a lot of this past year allowing myself to be stretched, allowing the sometimes painful new growth to be a big part of my daily life. I have been challenged and have challenged myself in more than a couple ways:

  1. Striving to take things slower.
  2. Allowing for actual rest without guilt.
  3. Trying a few new things.
  4. Not expecting perfection of myself.
  5. Accepting God's gift of grace.

This list, by no means says I am complete. Or that I am perfect and that I am finished growing. But it does allow me to look back at the past year with a very thankful heart. Because I have grown and am better than I was a year ago. And that is all that I believe God asks of me. He asks me to accept His loving grace, to trust Him and to try. Each day, putting one foot in front of the next. And that will probably look different for you than it does for me.

Last New Year, as we headed into 2018, I read so many blog posts about people picking a word for their New Year's resolution. And if I did this too, I can't remember the word I chose.  So this year, I am picking more than one as I don't think we leave ourselves open to enough possibilities with only one. (Underestimating and limiting God's ability to lead me is a big mistake that I have already made - time to change that!) I want to be sure that I keep my blinders down and allow for the Holy Sprit's leading in my day to day life. That I enable Him to also bring me to where I am most needed to be for the growth that He knows I need.

My Words for 2019

1. Slow
2. Wisdom
3. Grace
4. Thankful
5. Contentment