I don’t like New Year’s resolutions. I don’t like setting goals that I will probably not keep. I know, sort of a defeatist way to approach it, but I’m just being honest. I’d rather approach this new month and the new year ahead with a focus that will last. In the past few years, I have asked the Lord for a word that would be my family’s focus for the year. We chewed upon (pun intended) the fruits of the spirit, we’ve worked on “stewardship” and what it means to use well what we’ve been given, we sought out ways to increase “margin” in our lives. This year, I am sensing a pull towards “purpose.” I recently saw a quote “Every day do something that will lead you closer to God.”
This last year was a tough one – for our church family, especially. I am excited for the new year. I am excited to leave the past behind and to look forward, in trust and gratitude, to where the Lord is taking us. While I may avoid tangible goals (pounds to lose, etc), I am excited to contemplate the things that come with a new year. There is a freshness, a turning of the page, so to speak. Yet, I am aware that I do not get to be a passive observer of my life. If I want to grow and see more of God in my life, I have a responsibility to act. So I ask myself the question: how do I continue to grow, to be changed, to expect more?
I find the answer in living purposefully. I am called to live this life I’ve been given well. I am called to love. I am called to look beyond my own little world and to reach out to others; to live with a purpose of not only spreading His gospel, but to live as a daily example of the life found in Christ. We are ambassadors, and in some cases, the only point of contact to Christ. This is a heavy call and I desire to respond with humility and sincerity.
To me, living purposefully means this: To not say “yes” to every opportunity. but rather pray through my answers, and respond with confidence that He will lead me. It also means to look outside of my box. I want to be willing to blow open my comfort zone and allow Jesus to use me in new ways. I want to accept the fact that He can ignite a passion in my heart that I have not yet embraced. I need to acknowledge that whatever it is that lies ahead to which He may be calling me – whether I want it yet or not – He will fully equip me. (2 Timothy 3:17)
I cannot help but think of the widow, who did not expect to lose suddenly. For these women I’ve seen walk this path – I see strength, dignity, humility, passion, utter dependence on God. He has equipped them for the tough road He called them to. When I acknowledge that 2015 could hold greater joys than imaginable, or more despairing tragedies than I dare to contemplate – I find that the peace I need to walk in is available when I trust that Jesus will be there with me. If I truly embrace that my life here has purpose, eternal and lasting purpose, it helps me realize that each day I can make a difference. Each day holds a wealth of opportunity to love others for Christ. Each day I have the choice to walk out patience. Each day I get to respond with gratitude for what He has given to me. Each day I have the chance to open His Word. Each day I can grow closer to Him.
I encourage you to ask God what He may have for you this year. And trust that He has something new to do in you. And that what He does in us is always leading us towards good. (Ephesians 2:10)