Three women at a corner table in a cafe pray over salads. They discuss current projects and catch up on their families. When the coffee arrives, Ansley poses a question.
“Do either of you have new year’s resolutions?”
Leslie answers first, “I make goals more than resolutions.”
“What’s the difference?” Sharyn asks.
“Goals don’t have super specific deadlines and numbers. I don’t get discouraged with goals.”
Ansley pipes up, “Can you reach goals without specifics?”
“Hmmm. Honestly, I’m not sure,” Leslie admits.
Sharyn stirs her coffee, “I don’t make resolutions, I choose a word for the year.”
Ansley follows up, “How does that work?”
“Well, I choose a word to focus on, something God seems to be addressing in my life, and then I view events or choices through that word. Does that make sense?”
“Sort of.” Ansley replies. “Give an example. What did you choose last year?”
“I chose a combination of two words, faith/hope. I started the year floundering with a lot of unknowns, and God impressed me to have faith and trust Him with things up in the air.”
Leslie jumps in, “So did it work? Did your word fit the rest of the year?”
“More than I expected. You know my health problems, and going back and forth with the doctor took months, and then, the unexpected accident in our family happened. It challenged my faith and was hard not to give up hope, sometimes still is hard, but it’s working out.”
Leslie presses further. “How exactly did your word help. I’m still trying to picture that.”
Sharyn sips her coffee and thinks a moment. “I felt hopeless, and actually got depressed, so I wrote down verses about faith and hope as I ran across them. I clung to those verses like a life raft, to remind me that God is faithful even though I couldn’t see. That pulled me through.” She frowned, “It’s not like the sun suddenly came out, but when I chose to have faith that God was somewhere in the fog, the less alone and more hopeful I almost felt. I wasn’t quite there, but I sensed it below the horizon, and now I feel so much better.”
Ansley says, “I never thought to pick a word-of-the-year.”
Sharyn turns to her, “What about you, since you brought it up, what are your resolutions?”
Ansley eyes her friends. “I don’t make resolutions.” she says.
“What?” Leslie is incredulous.
“I always fail before January’s over and then I lose all motivation. Anyway, none of us know what’s going to happen this year.”
“Your right,” Leslie agrees, “but we know Someone who does.”
What about you, friend? With a new decade, especially one with such a cool number, the New Year seems especially significant. Making resolutions feels like standing on a precipice and looking over the edge. Should we jump? The presence of hope makes a pivotal difference. What hopes died this past year? What hopes do you have for 2020?
Before, I launched into ideas for 2020, I opened photos and journals of 2019 and wrote down events from the year. I’m surprised how many things I forgot.
What did I or can I learn from them?
For what can I give thanks?
What do I need to address?
Based on those gleanings, I’m looking at 2020 with better vision and more hope. I’ve written a few goals: join toastmasters, finish the books I’ve started reading and writing, focus on people, accept failure. I’ve jotted a few words too: people, perseverance, failure, reconciliation, risk. I’m walking forward with goals but also waiting on God to percolate His words and works in me.
We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
This year, I’ve decided that I don’t have to have it all figured out by January. It’s a relief to know that He’s already got it.