You know, it’s amazing how life changes from your mid 20’s to nearing 40. When you’re 25, you leave the house at 10:00 pm for a New Year’s Eve shindig. When you’re nearing 40? Ha! You’re flopping onto your bed like a dead carp and kissing your wife goodnight, lights out at 11:00 pm. When you’re 25, you sleep until noon the next day, spending the entire day in your PJs. When you’re nearing 40? You schedule an oil change the next morning at 8:00 am to get in before the crowd. Pathetic, I know. And as I sat there in the chill of the waiting room, I had plenty of time to chew on ideas for the new year. Oh yes, that dreaded New Year’s resolution.
Do you keep resolutions? A few years ago I remember mapping out five or six areas of my life and inserting at least two to three bullet points beneath each one. How to be a better husband. A better dad. Eating right. Exercising. Devoting myself to quiet time on a daily basis. Oh yeah, it was all covered. And as I scooted into the new year, it felt like I was weighing myself down with umpteen expectations that would more or less be forgotten by mid-June. Okay, let’s be honest. Mid-April. Maybe even March. Do you feel the same way? How many resolutions do you have right now? You might be that person who has abandoned them altogether. Before you do that, hear me out.
What if you were to boil your year down to a single resolution? Not just a single sentence either. That would be too much. What if you were to boil your year down to one word? Wouldn’t you say that would be doable? If you have been a loyal follower of my blog for over a year, you’re probably asking Hasn’t he said this before? To answer your question, yes. One year ago to the week actually. Go back and read it again if you’d like. Or just read the rest of this and call it good. One word. Simple, right? The thought itself isn’t so intimidating. It is just coming up with that word that perplexes some. How do you get there? What do you revolve your entire year around?
I will answer that by revealing how I have come up with my word the past three years. In 2013, I was reborn. Baptized. And I wanted it all to click at once, but it certainly couldn’t. I heard God’s whisper in my ear for 2014 to revolve around a single concept: patience. (He sounds like James Earl Jones by the way. Booming. Deep. Memorable.) I got patience, but in my quest to become patient, I became a bit arrogant. I thought I was some Christian Jedi or something, and I became quite full of myself. I then knew my word for 2015: humility. God humbled me. He told me to get into His Word and quit puffing myself up. Everything was going fine until this past fall when my confidence in God was tested. My lower back pain crept back. Unforeseen financial emergencies collided all at once. And to be quite honest, I felt a little burn out at work.
It was mid-December when God declared my new word for 2016: faith. (Side note … God doesn’t sound like James Earl Jones. I still don’t know what God’s voice sounds like, so if you do, I’d love to know. Drop me a line. Sorry, back to faith.) Faith that He is bigger than my struggles. Faith that I will indeed overcome whatever obstacle may be in my way. God assisted me in finding a verse for the year: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11: 1). I have no clue what 2016 will bring me, but I do know this. I want my year to be based on trusting Him fully, having no doubt or reservations about what is to come, a completely blind faith that allows me to let go of all my cares and cast them upon my Maker.
Reflect this week if you have not already done so. What word is needed in 2016 for you? I can guarantee that one word will be a heck of a lot easier to remember than the eight resolutions you create only to forget later. Simplify your year. One word is all it takes. I would love to hear your words too, so feel free to respond below and share what God is nudging you towards. It might even guide someone else to their new word. Come on, gang. It is out with the old and in with the new. 2015? That was so then. 2016 is the NOW. Embrace it. Live it. Love it! Most of all, listen. He will direct you through His Word. How do I know? Because His Word says so: “Then you will call upon Me and come pray to Me and I will hear you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all of your heart” (Jeremiah 29: 12-13).
(Josh Wilson gets it right when he sings, “Go ahead and put the past in the past. Box it up like an old photograph.” It is time to reach for the new, and there is no better song to reflect on that than his new hit song “That Was Then, This Is Now.” Check it out below!)