i’ve stopped doing resolution posts for a long while now. usually my need to write down new year’s resolutions is driven by a deep-seated belief that the change in a date number has enough power to bring about a new start to my life. but no. it doesn’t. (#onlyjesusistheanswer)
somehow, though, being on the cusp of the new year has a greater significance for me this time round compared to the other years. i think it’s because a huge chapter of my life has come to a close (i finished university! more on that another time) and 2018 brings with it uncertainty in terms of the spotless canvas that is my career. the possibilities are endless and the roads are diverging from each other. which one will i take? where will You lead me, LORD?
i wanted to pen some things down for this new season. more so for me to take note of thoughtfully and in a posture of prayer than to “resolve” to do these out of self-effort. some of these are lessons i noticed i’ve learned significantly through God’s refining and shaping and others are lessons i want to learn. for everything and in everything, i know that i am not there yet though (not that i have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but i press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me).
in this new season, i want to take note of, remember, and bring to my abba:
– that i am a work in progress and that is okay. to expect myself not to make a fool out of myself, not to fail, not to look awkward, not to make blunders—that is an unattainable a goal because i am not perfect here. this is not an excuse to sin (what shall we say, then? shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? by no means! we are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?) but it is a reason to confess, repent, receive God’s love and grace, forgive myself and pick myself up to keep on walking. for every small detour or bump in the road it has become easy to assume that we should give up and move on to something else. but that’s not what my LORD calls me to do. he wants me to finish the race.
– that God’s kingdom is exceedingly far more beautiful and glorious than any counterfeit this world presents to me, no matter how temporally dazzling. and it is always worth pursuing his kingdom and his righteousness. this has been a steady conviction that God has built over the years, so much so that i think if my heart has a face, it would be like the description in isaiah 50:7 (therefore have i set my face like flint). perhaps it’s because i’ve seen, through the brokenness of my family experienced early on in life, how the riches of this world cannot compare to the love and eternal satisfaction found in the LORD, and how everything pursued apart from God is just emptiness (careers, wealth, possessions, relationships, even charity and good deeds).
– that as much as God has given me a keen awareness and sensitivity to my emotions (and others’ as well), it is never to be the one and only compass that guides my life or decisions. on the advice of trusted mentors and counsellors, i’ve learned to delay my emotional reactions because they may be impulsive and based on assumptions arising from a place of hyper-sensitivity. instead, i’ve learned (and am still learning) to give myself 24 hours, or 48 hours, even 72 hours upon hearing or learning something that upsets me. and surprisingly, also praying about whether it is something that needs to be brought up to the other party in a potential conflict.
– that there is always so much more of God, his love, and this relationship i share with him to come. i want to live everyday hungry for more of him! to never be satisfied with where i am spiritually or to pat myself on the back on being “spiritually mature”. i want to have a holy discontentment that spurs me on for more and more of jesus and less of me. there were times this year where i thought “won’t i get bored of reading his word?” or “God, i know all of this already, there’s no need for me to learn this lesson again!” it is alarming, for buried in these thoughts is a belief that i’ve had enough of God. in this belief, i then give into the temptation to be self-sufficient.
– that there will always be things that i don’t want to do and don’t feel like doing. but that shouldn’t stop me from doing them anyway. that discipline isn’t going to be a bed of roses but a painful aspect that i will choose to step through. this might come in the form of work responsibilities. this might involve gritting my teeth and persevering through dry seasons in discipling others and in ministry. this might be staying true to my word. this might be in reconciling with a family member or a loved one even though they’ve hurt me. this might be exercising regularly. or, this might very simply be showing up and being present.
– to let go and to be open to new things. in 2017 i was surprised at some choices i made. such as choosing to go for a movie by myself. or going for workshops and classes by myself. while growing up, i was that girl who was very attached to other people, especially so towards my mom. i was gripped by the fear in having to be independent, not being comfortable to even order food for myself at the foodcourt when i was out with my family. i attribute this sudden openness and confidence to God alone and i’m thankful he has shown me that stepping outside of my comfort zone isn’t actually terrifying at all.
– that as jon and i learn to love each other in the big and small, everyday moments through jesus’ example, we are to be a couple that loves and serves others too, bringing forth the aroma of christ and to be his hands and feet wherever he places us. i’m blessed that this was a conviction that God placed upon my heart when i prayed about a partner and a future relationship, and that he has given me a man who desires this so strongly as well.
– to live out the gospel and to speak out the gospel. i have so much to learn and grow in this area, but i am praying that when people look and see me, they don’t see me but they see jesus.
– finally, a more solemn note that is weighing on my heart: this world is not my home (and frankly, i don’t want it to be). i’m a sojourner on a journey and i am just passing through. God has not promised me a tomorrow on this earth, because my home is a place far more amazing. and that is okay. each day, then, is a gift. not to just waste away or to seek out my own pleasures. but to steward with gratefulness, awe and devotion. may i never forget this.