By Vickibeth O'Brien
January 1 is almost here...time to renew the gym pass, throw out the chips in the pantry, begin again to build the savings fund.....and the list goes on. I love new beginnings, and yes, every year I try to view January 1 as a clean slate, but while everyone around us is pulling out their jogging gear to seek “the new year new you,” what if we looked past our physical goals, and considered a heart goal?
Last year, I began 2014 with the word “holiness.” I just felt like the Spirit put that word on my heart repeatedly in the weeks leading up to the new year. I decided that 2014 was going to be the year where I sought after, prayed for, and learned more about what it meant to be holy. The Bible commands us to “be holy as I am holy,” yet it wasn’t a concept I was overly familiar with outside of knowing it was an attribute of God. It’s been an amazing journey!
After such an encouraging journey this year, I’ve been praying for the last week or so that God would give me a word to pursue in 2015. As a quick backstory, I have been struggling lately with our future. Tim is in seminary and desires to be a pastor, so that really throws our future up in the air. If you have known me for 5 minutes, you know that I love control and hate the unknown, so this has been a challenge for me. We are trying to plan our finances, future family, home, jobs, etc. around an unknown future. I have been silently expressing my displeasure to God about the unknowns. I mean, doesn’t He know I like to plan?! Can’t we just get there already so I don’t have to wonder and worry anymore?! I know that I need to be content, and I do love our current situation. I love Tim so very much; I love our home, our friends, our church, but in the back of my mind is this tiny piece of discontentment/worry about “the next life stage.”
As I walked through a store this past week, a little canvas wall art jumped out at me. It simply said, “Today you are exactly where you are supposed to be. What happens tomorrow is up to you.” I felt like God might as well have highlighted, italicized, and underlined in huge font that first sentence right across the wall of Marshalls. He sees me, today. I don’t have control, but I can know that God is in control, and today is exactly where He wants me. My pastor growing up used to often say, “Any situation that is out of my control is God’s will.” How relieving is that?! We don’t have to be afraid when we “lose control” because, frankly, we never had it. As His children, we are in the palm of His hand. Who better to have control of your life than your Creator God?
We don’t have to be afraid when we “lose control” because, frankly, we never had it.
The second sentence is meant to be empowering, but I see something different than what the author probably meant. Tomorrow’s events and situations are up to God, BUT I do get to choose how I prepare for and respond to those happenings. Will I choose to worry and stress about the tomorrows or will I allow God to direct my paths as I wait patiently on His will and timing. PATIENCE. This is my word for 2015.
My word was confirmed this morning as our pastor spoke on patience using the example of Simeon from Luke chapter 2:25-35 waiting for the coming Messiah. He said, “In today’s culture if the Spirit told us we wouldn’t die until a specific event happened, we’re so impatient we probably would’ve gone door to door asking to see every new baby born.” We would have gotten ourselves into a tizzy trying to make God’s promise happen NOW because it was such an exciting event. Yet, the Bible indicates that Simeon just kept diligently serving, patiently waiting for God to fulfill the promise. (Check out this encouraging song about patiently waiting on God’s timing and what we should be doing during the wait: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6X71sXagUY)
There are exciting times ahead. I anticipate the day that Tim finishes seminary. He is so excited about preaching and teaching and I’m excited for him to be able to move into that phase of life. I‘m excited about our future family; I love kids, and I’m eager to be a mommy and focus my attention on my husband and kids, not sitting at a desk 40+ hours a week. I’m excited to see how God is going to use our family in a church someday. But I’m nervous that God will call us to another state far away from family when we have kids. I’m sad to think about potentially selling our home that we love...but all of these things, the happy and the worrisome, are all in the FUTURE. What a waste of today to worry and try to control the future! A future that God has complete control over, and if I would just sit back and patiently wait on Him, and enjoy the ride, there would be so much more joy on the journey!
So in 2015, I choose to seek patience. I’m asking God to help me focus on, be thankful for, and enjoy today, and to help us make good choices for, but not fret over, tomorrow. I’m choosing to throw my sin of discontentment about the unknowns at the foot of the cross each time it comes up. Yes, I’m planning a reboot of our eating and spending habits in 2015, but I think I’m more excited about the heart challenge. (BTW, that canvas now hangs on my bathroom wall as a daily reminder to be patient and live in today.)
Would you consider joining the journey and asking God to give you a word for 2015?
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