I’ve always been your typical New Year’s Hype person.
I’ve always approached January first with a sense of hope and anticipation that in retrospect has always just set me up for disappointment.
I’ll always think this year will be different. This year my life will suddenly become everything I’ve ever dreamed and so much more. I’ll set goals and make resolutions and by February, okay January 12th, I’m already falling behind and hating myself.
I think that’s probably pretty typical for a lot of people but I’m realizing it more and more about myself.
For me, on top of the typical New Year’s hopes and disappointments I’ve also spent the last eight New Year’s in grief. For those of us who have lost loved ones, the holiday season is a continual, weeks long reminder of our loss, so the beginning of a new year isn’t quite the same as it used to be.
In the almost eight years since losing my parents I’ve spent December 31st holding onto the hope that I would wake up on January 1st and just miraculously feel better. The pain wouldn’t be so intense. The fog wouldn’t be so thick. The sadness would lift, if only a little.
Every day of the first few years without them was so full of agonizing pain that I just hoped upon hope the next year would bring some relief. That I would see just the smallest inkling of light at the end of the seemingly endless tunnel.
Over the last two years God has healed my heart in ways that I never thought possible. He has brought me out of the darkness of depression and sadness and led me into a life that I love, something that I didn’t fully believe I would ever find.
It may sound dramatic, but last year was truly one of the best years of my life, if not the best. I made some of the best friends a girl could ask for, I experienced God in ways that I can’t even describe, I reconnected with old friends again, I fell more in love with my husband, and I watched God orchestrate one incredible moment after the other. All due to small steps of obedience over years and years of walking with God, not just waking up one day to everything being new and better.
Any of you who have been reading my blog long know how much I love listening for God to give me a word at the beginning of each year. Last year that word was planted and being obedient to His urging for me to plant myself where I am so that I could grow played a critical part in all that happened last year.
In the past I have always begged God to please just let the new year be different. Please just let everything change, including me. But this year my prayers were noticeably different. This year I find myself not wanting everything to change drastically because last year was wonderful. I don’t want everything to completely change, I just want it to get even better. I want more of what I experienced in 2017. I want my marriage to get better, I want my friendships to develop deeper, I want to experience God even more. I don’t want change, I just want more.
And that was when God quietly whispered, “Overflow.”
This year doesn’t have to be the opposite of last year or even the same, it can actually be more and better. Everything that I experienced last year, everything that brought me joy doesn’t have to end with the new year, it can actually just overflow and flourish even more.
And the same is true for you too.
Maybe you’re feeling disappointed with the year already. Maybe you’re already losing momentum with your goals and hating yourself. Or maybe you’re desperately hoping that this year will be completely different. I get it. I’ve been there. Heck, I lived there for the better part of the last eight years. But this year God is showing me that things don’t have to change completely in order for them to be good. I don’t have to wake up as a different person in order for Him to be pleased with me or for Him to work in ways that only He can. I still have plenty of growing to do and a lot of junk to work through, and I’m sure you do too, but God is happy to meet us exactly as we are exactly where we are because it is no surprise to Him.
He doesn’t expect us to wake up and be new people, He expects us to wake up and be exactly who He created us to be.
A new year doesn’t have to equal a new you because a new year still bows down to the same God and He knows exactly what this year holds.
So instead of setting lofty goals and making life altering resolutions, why don’t we choose to just say yes to whatever God has this year and watch what He decides to do? I think we’ll find that its an exciting and terrifying white-knuckled ride and who He created us to be is better than anything we could ever create ourselves.