Does the end of one year and start of the next leave you frustrated or disappointed? Was last year all you had anticipated it would be? Did things go as you planned, or at some point did you find yourself upside down or inside out from where you expected?
If you had asked me a year ago to bullet point for you what my year would hold, I can tell you now, I would have been way off base. I never would have predicted neck surgery, a boating accident with my son with subsequent surgery, being directed by God to close my private practice and enter into a season of rest before being diagnosed and undergoing surgery and treatment for cancer.
Neither would I have told you that I’d be asked to preach at a couple different churches, guest interview on several different podcasts, be the cover girl for the Redemption Press special edition magazine, go on tour with Redemption Press at the Women of Joy conferences, move my son into an apartment, go on several FOX National Radio tours, sign a book contract for my next book and get it written and submitted, or win the Christian Literary Reader’s Choice Award for “The Hope Prevails Bible Study.”
It was a year of receiving God’s presence in the bad as well as the good, believing that God really does work all things together for our good and for His glory (Romans 8:28).
At the beginning of every year, we often take an assessment of goals we’ve met and accomplishments we’ve seen in the past year, and devise plans and goals for the coming year. The problem is, we have very little direct control over much of what happens, and often, our plans are not the Lord’s perfect plan for our lives.
“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps” (Proverbs 16:9).
If we want to see the most reward for our plans, we should first and foremost pray and ask the Lord for His guidance. “Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21).
And with that, we must believe Him and that His ways are best. “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
Things don’t always go as we plan, expect, or envision, but we can remain confident in God’s goodness and faithfulness despite the unexpected detours in life.
Submission to God’s way and God’s will entails holding the things of this world with an open hand. When we hold onto our way and our will with a clenched fist, we’re unable to receive the blessings He has in store for us through our obedience. If we’re going to be happy and content when the blessings come, we owe it to God to trust Him and be content even in the unforeseen trials.
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret to being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:12-13).
As you look forward to this next year with great anticipation of all God wants to do in and through you, go ahead and dream. God delights in giving His children the desires of their heart. But seek His plan and His way, hold your goals and agenda with an open hand, and thank Him advance for all He wants to do.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:6-9).
May you have a blessed year!
Because of Him, #PeacePrevails!