A New Year Begins

It’s hard to believe that another new beginning and new calendar year is upon us.

These past few days, Ryan and I have joked back and forth about new starts at the beginning of January. He’s a big believer that there’s nothing special about January 1st, or a New Year as far as it having some magical appeal for making change. I am just about the complete opposite.

I love the New Year in January: new planners, fresh starts, clean slates, second chances, tightened up priorities, reflection, game-plans and habit forming strategies. I believe that these mile markers can help offer hope for change in our lives. Also. I love any legitimate excuse to organize my household binder and get new pens.

In 2016, however, I want to make one tweak to my usual routines of mapping out what I hope will be a fun, full, and inspiring year. This year, I want to TRUST GOD.

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Usually, all of my plans revolve around making better use of my time. I plan to spend more TIME writing, more TIME exercising, more TIME reading God’s word, more TIME investing in my marriage, our family, and relationships. These are all noble and worthy causes.

As the end of last year gave way to the start of this one, I have realized that all of those goals and endeavors often leave me feeling busy but not fulfilled. When I don’t make the TIME for those things, I often feel guilt that I have put upon myself for not measuring up to those self-imposed standards and expectations.

I want to begin this year from a totally different mindset. I want to TRUST GOD.

I want to begin this year with the express goal of leaving behind some of those self-appointed, rigid, and often confining rules I make for myself. I’ve been examining my heart and motives and I have realized that somewhere deep inside I have been believing a complete lie.

My brain tells me that with enough Sharpies and goals that I can do just about anything. If I can carefully control my calendar, then I can surely control my life.

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Having planners and calendars isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It isn’t sinful to plan your week or set goals you hope to accomplish. On the contrary, God’s word calls for us to be good stewards of our time and resources.

 

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” {Colossians 3:17}

The Holy Spirit has lovingly and sweetly convicted me of the error of my ways. God longs for me to operate out of a heart of love and peace, not legalism (even self-inflicted) and control.

Over the past few years, I have gone out of bounds with my Type-A need for control. When you give your life over to God’s calling (and Uncle Sam), it can feel like very little is within your control. From frequent relocations to transitory friendships, sometimes you feel like you are bumping along unrestrained from one major life event to another. I have believed that setting up all of these plans for change, progress, and new habits will somehow equate to a form of stability. I have believed that if I can just manage what often feels like tumult and uncertainty, then life won’t be tumultuous and uncertain.

I am at an impasse.

 I can’t find it anywhere in God’s word where we are given directives to regulate and govern our own lives within our own power. I can’t find the verse that says, “I can do all things through myself, who gives me strength.” I can’t locate the passage that says “Take your own yoke…and give yourself rest for your own soul.”

 But those mantras are truly the ones I have been living by. I have falsely put more trust in myself or in my own plans than I have the God I claim to serve. I am ready to relinquish control. I am ready to surrender. I am ready to rest in the peace of Jesus. I am ready to fully trust in the promises of God.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” {Proverbs 3:5}

I’ve still got hopes and goals for 2016. But as I approach this new start, I want my heart to be focused on God’s goodness and provision. I want open hands, an open mind, and a heart open to truly relying on God. This year, I want to TRUST GOD.

Are you a planner and goal-setter? Has trying to control your calendar (and life) ever gotten out of sync with God’s perfect plan for you? I’d love to hear from you!

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6 thoughts on “A New Year Begins

  1. Lori Prall says:

    This speaks to me. I have long tried to be more organized, more intentional and well, just more. Unlike you, it is unnatural to me. I am a free spirit, at least when it comes to schedules. I eschew them. (Confession – as I typed that, I was not altogether sure the definition fit, but it sounded smart. 🙂 ). Seriously, I read an article a few days ago in where the author said that he changed one word in his prayer life – Lord, make it count. I like that. Make my life, my schedule, my efforts for you count. That will be my prayer this year.

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    • claire says:

      I think this is a year of simply embracing who I am and God created me to be. I often fail to recognize the gifts He’s created in me; the things that make me unique in His eyes. I love your “make it count” mantra. Prayers for a blessed 2016 for the Jeffries. =)

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  2. GingerG says:

    Yes! It’s funny how often we’re going through the same process/learning curve. We really are soul sistas! 🙂 Since about October, I’ve been repeating to myself “God is in control” when I feel overwhelmed, out of control, etc. I’ve been meaning to blog about it but haven’t quite gotten the words together in my mind yet. But, it has been helping me keep things in focus. GOD is in control, not me, and thank goodness!!

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    • claire says:

      God is in control. God is in control. God is in control. YES! A wonderful phrase to keep on repeat. It’s crazy how often we forget that. I’m trying for a lot less “white knuckling” this year and a lot more open hands and open heart for what God wants in my life. =)

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  3. Rachel says:

    Very encouraging.
    My goal this year is to grow in wisdom by allowing the Lord to discipline (aka train) me in various areas. There were still new books, notebooks, and pens to be had though!
    Happy New Year, Claire!

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    • claire says:

      I love that, Rachel. “Growing in wisdom.” I could use a heavy dose of wisdom as well. And I l love that you admit there are still new books, notebooks, and pens. <—– no shame in that game. I think that's just how the Lord created some of us. Happy New Year to you too sweet lady! =)

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