4 Ways To Approach The New Year With Jesus First
It’s that weird week again, December 26 to December 30th.
What day is it?
What is the time?
What do I want to do with my life?
Do I need a sparkly dress?
I need to eat a vegetable.
It’s the week of in between. The joys of Christmas have ended but it’s not yet the hope of New Year. It’s the in between week that leaves us wondering if we even know who we are? As we close out one year and wait to begin anew we might find ourselves sitting in between PROMISES made and PROMISES kept.
As an Enneagram three, hard wired for achievement and immersed in a culture that says “do more” I often feel excited and uneasy as the New Year approaches. I’ll gladly create a large whiteboard hung high in my office with goals for the new year. I have no problem coming up with fresh ideas and dreams I plan to create to change the world. I can run hard--until I can’t. Until the disappointment of the year prior leaves me doubting. Until the exhaustion of keeping up with that girl over there leaves me defeated. Until I become aware that some of my 'powering through' is just coping and I need to slow down to take care of my heart and the hearts of those around me. Then what, then what do I do if I can’t make it happen, or I simply do not have the motivation to muster the excitement in this week in between? What if I am unsure because I’m in the middle of figuring out what I even want in the year to come.
This is the week I strengthen my resolve. I do that in the form of ONE WORD. This year my word is PROMISE. It is my intent to celebrate the PROMISE that is Jesus in my life. He has been faithful to His promises before, and He has been good. AND I wrap my heart around the hope of His promises to come.
“Wrap your hearts tightly around the hope that lives within us…God always keeps His promises!” Hebrews 10:23
Do you have ONE word? As we sit in between I encourage you to take a minute, before you write out the goals, lose the weight, start the business venture or map out your plan your families calendar and begin in your HEART. Set your intention, if only with ONE word.
Here are four ways to discover your ONE WORD:
This is the 'Jesus first' mindset. This is creation versus reaction. This is the pause, check my heart, “God what do you want me to do?” moment. We tend to make our plans and then add a dollop of Jesus on top. Instead, allow Him to form in you the desires and motivations to do His work that He has already prepared for you.
To start HERE is to start honest and vulnerable and it draws us closer to Jesus. To repent is to rejoice. When we confess relief comes and joy abounds. It is the gateway to greater intimacy with God which will lead to clearer understanding and trust in Him.
Before we begin all the grand plans of what’s next, begin with RENEWing the core commitments already in your hands. Our most vital work is what we do within the four walls of our homes. The commitments to family, our marriages and our communities of faith don’t always feel significant or seem to be the main action items that propel us forward but faithfulness in these areas will produce a counter cultural life—which is a life that produces fruit that will last.
I’m not suggesting only sleep. I’m talking to rest in the reality that your identity is in Christ. You have nothing to prove only something to give. You may have failed to reach your goals in 2021. You may not have checked all the boxes on your list. You may not know exactly how to move forward in 2022. But God loves, cares and sees you in all of this and says, YOU still MATTER. The enemy is going to whisper “you’re worthless.” But a failed 2021 or a more successful 2022 will not change God’s love, it won’t increase your value or defeat the PROMISE he has for you.
After you sit with these four things I believe a word will float to the surface of your heart and a desire for this New Year, even as you sit in between will come to your mind. Write it down. Pray on it. Share it with me. And begin to believe that word for your year to come.