by Brittney Chan
But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works.
Psalm 73: 28
A new year.
Breathe that in with me. A new year...a fresh start...beginning again...
For most of us, the chaos and busyness of the holidays are finally over and it sort of feels like a clean slate lies ahead. Things are slowing down compared to the rushes and excitements of December. This is the time of year when we’re reminded of the hope that comes with starting over. I’m sure many of us took part in some kind of New Year’s tradition. If you’re in the Southern parts of the United States, you might’ve found yourself in the kitchen cooking collards and black-eyed peas in hopes of bringing in a good financial year. You might have shared a smooch at midnight with your spouse to represent the intimacy and dedication of your next year of marriage. Maybe you spent time thinking about the things you wanted to accomplish in 2020 and listed out your resolutions. Has anyone else found themselves staring at that same list mid-March thinking, “Um...what in the world happened to all of my goals?!” ...No? Just me? Okay, cool…
All jokes aside, no matter what you did or didn’t do, one thing is certain: a new year brings new opportunities. And if you haven’t given it any thought yet, it’s not too late to consider the things you’d like to do in the next 12 months. Yes, add a few financial ambitions and plan to be intentional with your individual health needs; but most importantly, I urge you to spend time talking to God about what He wants to complete through you this year.
When I started praying about the New Year, and the different pieces of my life that I wanted to commit to the Lord, a few words started to stick: “Call me to You.” Amid all of the responsibilities that accompany adulthood, it’s more than easy to get lost and even overwhelmed at times. Having to focus on work or school, while making time for family life, while paying bills, while juggling different emotions...all of that, and so much more, are things that don’t take a break from needing our attention.
But, what if instead of allowing our obligations to consume our energies, leaving us worn out and exhausted on a daily basis, we gave God time to refresh us and direct our intentions?
What if, at the very start of this year, we gave Him control of our schedules and responsibilities? What if we let Him take our anxieties about the future and leave us with His peace? Relinquishing control is not a task for the weak-minded Christian because it often involves trusting in the intangible.
The 73rd psalm is a song of Asaph that correlates well with what I’m trying to get across to you. He starts off by establishing the truth that God is good to everyone, but especially to those of a clean (pure) heart. The writer continues into a moment of honest transparency where he makes a distinction between those with an unadulterated heart and himself: “But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” In other words, “I almost tripped and lost out in my walk with God because I was focusing on the wrong things.” This confession leads the psalmist to a completely different mindset in 28 short verses. By the end, he writes: “...There is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever...it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works.”
I realize that my prayer, “Call me to You,” is a response to what God is already doing for every one of us. He is calling us closer to Him. Even in the middle of all of Life’s distractions, His voice is steady and constant in drawing us to Him. What will your response be? Will God’s desire to be intimate with you be reciprocated?
In this new decade of Time, while you pursue good health and financial status, also be intentional with focusing on God’s plan for your life. Whatever successes or failures 2019 held don’t have to follow you into this next year. Adopt Apostle Paul’s vision in Philipians 3:13b-14, “...This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
I can’t thank You enough for the mercies and grace You have shown me in 2019. I’m grateful for Your constant love and call for me to come closer. Direct my attentions and affections back to You and let Your heart’s song become the one I sing. Let Your hand be evident in my life in the next year and use me for the furtherance of Your kingdom.
In Jesus’ name,