Tuesday, January 7, 2014

hands open




Once upon a time I scrawled out resolutions by the bowlful. Lists and tips and ideas to get a new year done right, they filled my head and clogged my heart. Somewhere along the road I realized something: resolutions can be a bit of a downer. It’s always good to think of how to improve on oneself. But I notice that a lot of resolutions seem to involve the negative. I will not eat junk. I will stop biting my nails. Or drinking too much coffee. I will stop leaving messes out. Or whatever else. All that negativity tends to bum a person out. I’d rather be more realistic anyway. Also, one year is a 365 days long. A very long time to commit to do anything other than stay married, parent your kids, and remain gainfully employed. All of which you should continue to do if you’re in that boat.  

I wonder what our year would be like if we took it one bite at a time? What if we looked at it in quarters, just four of them? Or maybe even months? There’s twelve opportunities to stop and restart. Because the gosh honest truth is that I always messed up on those resolutions anyway. I’d start strong and then end up bitter and disappointed with my feeble, fizzled out efforts. That’s no way to make change.

As we’ve sailed from the joys of Christmas to celebration of New Year’s Eve I’ve been thinking. And today, while we fall back into our comfortable routine of school and work, I’ve been prayerfully considering this brand new year. I’ve been asking God what he wants me to do, and trying to think less of what I want to accomplish. 

And do you know what I’ve come up with (or what he’s whispered to me in the quiet hours)? 

Accept it. 

Accept all that he brings my way. The good and the bad, the mundane and the extraordinary, it’s all from him in the first place. What if I could just simply accept what he hands me? The bad days, where children fight and rail against our best intentions-accept those as opportunities to bring those children to God in prayer. Job loss and heartbreak? Accept those as new opportunities to love and give, and reinvent ourselves. Health setbacks? Accept those, for they bring a new opportunity to get to know the great physician. And what of the good things? Those are easy to accept of course, but we often don’t accept those as gifts from God’s gracious hand. We just take them and run, and throw confetti over the good that life hands us. But it’s God who does the handing and we get the choice to accept-all things. 

In everything give thanks. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

All things work together for the good of those who love Christ and are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

In him we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28)

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:17)

All things. The big, bad and ugly, and the wonderful drop you to your knees good. All of it is from his hand. And I have choice today, this day, and this year. I will chose to accept what he brings in and what he chooses to take out. I make this choice fully knowing that I might not like what God chooses to bring my way. And even if I don’t like what I receive, I still know that God is good. And he knows how to give good gifts to his children (Matthew 7:11).

2014, God willing, will be a year to accept what he brings in and accept what he takes out, and to be okay with the fact that God’s time line rarely ever matches up with mine. As for resolutions, I don’t really have any except for the continuing to resolve to walk closer to Christ, hands open to what he’s doing, and ready to receive what he has.

2 comments:

  1. Resolutions discourage me at times too. I do like to choose a word and chose receive this year which can be similar to accept. I am hoping not to do so much as to receive whatever He gives, to receive His love, grace, mercy, and healing. Lovely post!

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  2. I love this post on so many levels. God was speaking this same type of message to my heart, too. Rather than striving, striving, striving (dare I mention striving), I'm definitely approaching this new year with a desire to just stay in God's will for my life. And married, parenting, and gainfully employed. :)

    So glad I found your blog!

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