I had major surgery in December, so I am starting the new year the same way I ended the old one: SLOW. And while slow can be frustrating, it is also a gift. It has given me time with my family and rest like I’ve never had before. As my body heals and my mind clears, I’m looking ahead to the new year trying to catch some sort of vision. Resolutions? I’m really not good with those. One word for 2021? Nada. I’m looking into what seems like a clouded mirror.
When the pandemic first hit, I compared it to driving into a blizzard. It was disorienting and I couldn’t see very far up ahead. I didn’t know how long it would last. Heading into 2021 feels a bit like driving through fog. We may wish that turning the calendar to a new year would somehow magically propel us into a different reality, but the truth is that whatever we were dealing with in December has followed us into January.
If you experienced loss in 2020, grief will follow you into 2021 and needs your attention.
You may be praying for a loved one who is sick, or looking for a job, or trying to help your child who is struggling. Your marriage may still be hard, and you may still feel anxious or depressed over the reality we are living in. There is still much uncertainty, and like driving into a blizzard or through fog, there are a few things we can do:
1.)Stay alert. We wouldn’t use cruise control in a blizzard and none of us can afford to check out during this season.
2.)Slow down. Most of our external activities have slowed way down, but we have to be intentional to slow our internal worlds. To draw near to God and receive his peace.
3.)Make ourselves visible. Reaching out and connecting with others, and being honest about our struggles, is like turning on our hazard lights. It lets others know where we are.
4.)Follow Jesus. We may not be able to see very far up ahead, but we really don’t have to. We can follow in the tracks of Jesus because he knows the way.
5.)Maintain momentum so we don’t get stuck. Keep moving forward.
I love this passage in 1 Corinthians 8:12-13:
We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.
This is how we maintain momentum. This is how we keep moving forward.
Trusting steadily in God, in every situation and circumstance beyond our control. Hoping unswervingly, not in a particular outcome or person or political party, but placing our hope firmly in the One who is working all things for our good according to His purpose. And loving extravagantly, in every relationship and every interaction with everyone, no matter how easy or difficult they may be to love.
Of course we will not do this perfectly – that is one of the few guarantees we have. But may these three things be our aim. May these inform our daily decisions and responses and priorities in 2021. God is faithful. May we also be found faithful.
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