The new year is faithful bringing new opportunities for weight loss, improved fitness, better diet, ending bad habits and starting new ones. Commercials bombard us of our need to change and improve our lives with one certain product. We might get a moment of motivation or inkling of inspiration to sign up to do something different.
But does it last?
Usually not. Resolutions can be harsh task masters driving us to live better; when we fall short, we feel bad for not following through with our commitment to ourselves. I usually grow weary of the “have to” and give up.
The last several years I’ve taken a different approach at the start of a new year, choosing one word that will guide my direction for the months ahead. The theme word surfaces in my mind throughout the year, reminding me to focus and move forward in my goals.
Last year, my word was “deeper.”
In my year-end reflection, I made note of how God was faithful in leading me deeper in faith.
Here are some of my observations.
I finished reading the Bible completely through by December 10; I walked 435 miles; wrote 38 blog posts; sent 12 GraceNotes e-newsletters (be sure to subscribe!); sent submissions to print magazines. I spoke at several writer’s conferences about blogging and as well as presented inspirational messages for women, some based off of my book. At my church, I taught The Grace Impact as a Bible study for women, leading me to dig deeper into understanding more about grace.
An impacting event was receiving word that after years of seeing an ENT doctor because of tongue cancer, I am released (unless I notice any changes). I praise God for this! The first cancer was right after I got serious about a speaking ministry. I’ve had 6 biopsies over the span of 15 years with two of them being cancerous. I am thankful that season of life is over and I can use my tongue to speak for God.
While that is a concise summary of the year’s highlights, there were also disappointments and discouraging times. Some left a deep and lasting mark on my heart leading me to seek God and forgive others, learning more about grace. Growing through pain.
The past few months of 2017 brought some rough waters, causing me to wonder about next steps in ministry.
The Lord gave me a word that will guide me through 2018—faithful.
Faithfulness flows two ways. God is faithful to me and also He wants me to be faithful to His call.
My husband’s last message of 2017 focussed on God’s faithfulness in Psalm 89 and throughout the past year. It was refreshing to recall how God moved in small ways and in larger, more noticeable ways. I needed the reminder. I’ll need that reminder throughout the next year.
God’s faithfulness provides me with a sure foundation when life gets crazy. Observe the intermingling of the love and faithfulness between God and the psalmist:
I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness know through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you established you faithfulness in heaven itself. Psalm 89:1-2 NIV
Lamentations 3:21-23 are words of great hope, restoring the source of our focus to the Lord’s great love and faithfulness.
This year I’ll repeat them often as my faithful resolution to trust God more. If you’re facing serious health issues, relational difficulties, or financial concerns, let these words remind you of our faithful God. Seek the Lord for His guidance, recalling His faithfulness in the past, believing He will be faithful in the future.
The new year can bring a different perspective to previous problems when we seek the Lord. Will you make a faithful resolution to remember Him?