As I reflect on the day in November that I agreed to be a guest blogger, the thought that ran through my mind was…. “January, I love planning for a new year and making resolutions. I can definitely do this!” Being a teacher at heart, planning is MY thing! For years I have planned lessons, three daughters’ calendars, plus my current job requires me to plan basically down to the hour each day. To be truthful, I love the feeling of marking things off MY list!
Most Decembers, I am brainstorming and making a list of how I’m going to start the new year off being productive. My infamous words, “I’m going to get organized this year!” I’m usually busy organizing closets, color coding files, making a list for practically everything I want to accomplish in the new year. But this year was a little bit different… God certainly let me know this December that HE was in charge. I can make all the lists I want, but ultimately HE would decide if they were going to get marked off.
What mother doesn’t start their holiday planning in October? This year all the presents were wrapped two weeks before Christmas, which was much better than last year’s December 23rd. Last year, I had misplaced my color coded spreadsheet of gifts for each daughter from every family member. This year everything was wrapped, China on the table for Christmas morning breakfast, and casseroles were ready to be baked in the morning- ALL WAS GOOD ✅✅✅
Until….late night Christmas Eve! I was struck with excruciating stomach pain. The pain was enough to keep me in bed most of Christmas morning. Without sharing all the details, the week of Christmas and up until New Years was not about me planning and carrying out my plans. Rather, it was about me resting my body and spending quiet time with my family. I found that I was forced to submit to HIS plan.
As a result of this experience, I have a completely different outlook for January 2021. It’s not about MY goals and resolutions… It’s about asking God to guide me and allowing Him to show me what my year will be like. I feel as if the pressure I’ve always put on myself to make the perfect yearly plan and resolution is no longer! Now, each morning I ask God to give me patience and to continue to show me the gifts he has given me. I ask Him to guide me in the plans He has for me that day. I’m trying to listen and be obedient to His direction, as opposed to being focused on my plans and resolutions.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”
Jeremiah 29:11-12 (NIV)
I cannot express the peace I have already felt in my heart this year. This peace comes from surrendering to God; giving Him control of my life and giving up on my false sense of control. I do have to confess that I did buy a planner this year. It is a completely different type of planner though that I bought after January 1. It’s actually a prayerful planner: a place to ask God for prayer requests, a place to organize my weekly praises, and a place to reflect on my daily Bible verses. I know that this is part of His plan for me. So I pray that you take this year to let God lead you to the personal resolutions and goals He has for you. Talk to Him and I know you will feel his presence. Just watch how you fulfill His to do list, rather than your own.
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
Proverb 16:9 (ESV)
This year, I end each day with a devotional reading. Today’s reading, which is written as Jesus’ voice speaking to me, just happens to be close to perfect so I thought I would share it with you.
I am with you and for you. When you decide on a course of action that is in line with My will- nothing in heaven or on earth can stop you. You may encounter many obstacles as you move toward your goal, but don’t be discouraged- never give up! With My help, you can overcome any obstacle. Do not expect an easy path as your journey hand-in-hand with Me, but do remember that I am your very-present Helper, am omnipotent.
Much, much stress results from your wanting to make things happen before their times have come. One of the main ways I assert My sovereignty is in the timing of events. If you want to stay close to Me and do things My way, ask Me to show you the path forward moment by moment. Instead of dashing ahead long toward your goal, let Me set the pace. Slow down, and enjoy the journey in My presence.
Romans 8:31 ESV; Psalm 46:1-3 NKJ; Luke 1:37 ESV
(Young, 2004, p. 10).
Young, Sarah. (2004). Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His
Presence. Thomas Nelson.