I realize that it is February and it feels a little late for a New Year’s post. But there’s been something stirring in my heart since the beginning of 2017 that I have continued to wrestling with.
I’ve noticed a pattern with myself over the last couple of years. The clock strikes midnight. My TV displays scenes of the ball dropping in Times Square. And I am filled with dread. I dig my heels in like a dog on a leash being pulled in a direction it doesn’t want to go.
I have traditionally been a person that likes goal setting and I have never had a problem coming up with big dreams for myself. But lately, the outcome of those goals and dreams have become something that I fear.
2016 was bittersweet a year that I will never forget. The gift of our beautiful baby boy introduced me to a kind of love I don’t even have a category for. And the sting of another miscarriage this fall was a painful disappointment.
This is hard for me to admit but I have noticed that instead of eagerly anticipating all that God will do in the New Year, I feel terrified of what will not happen.
Will my dreams be something that only hurt me?
Will having goals only leave me feeling like a failure?
So instead of living expectant for how God will move and grow me in the New Year, I’ve noticed that I spend a lot of time “practicing disappointment.” I still have big dreams but I keep my expectations low. Maybe if I keep my hopes from climbing high, it won’t hurt as much if I fall.
But I am learning that there are things we cannot see when we insist on keeping ourselves low to the ground – things that are essential as we look toward the New Year.
Connection Over Protection
I’ve noticed that what feels like protection in one instance, can also be a barrier in another. When I keep expectations low in hopes of protecting myself from pain, I protect myself from all of it – the pain and the joy and everything in between. Connecting with God and others in all of my feelings is a direction I would like to take this year.
His Provision Over My Vision
I believe dreaming to be a healthy exercise in life. However, I’m learning that clinging tight to my own vision can sometimes keep me from seeing God’s provision. In our search for what we hope for, it can be difficult to be open to other possibilities. What a tragedy it would be to miss the gift of seeing how God is providing for me every day.
His Faithfulness in the Past is Our Hope for the Future
Finally, when I insist on keeping myself low to the ground, I am unable to see what is behind me – countless situations in which God moved in the seemingly hopeless and impossible. I’m learning that the key to hope for the future is observing God’s faithfulness in the past and acknowledging the goodness of His character yesterday, today, and forever.
I don’t know how you would characterize the last couple of years for yourself. But as we look ahead to the rest of 2017, let’s be expectant as we watch God move. Let’s anticipate what He longs to surprise us with as we marvel at His goodness. And let’s be grateful for who He is and that His goodness is true at all times.