It's the traditional time of year when most people reflect back, look ahead and make resolutions to change their future. We can only reflect, regret or enjoy the memories of the past - we can't change them - it's a done deal; that ship has sailed.
The holiday season for most of us starts at Thanksgiving and from then until January 1st, we tend to over-indulge. We eat too much, spend too much, party too much and don't exercise enough. When January 1st comes, some of us even look forward to getting back to "normal."
It seems the over-indulging actually leads to the resolutions we make at the beginning of the new year. We want some order in our lives and we definitely want some control back!!
But, can we change our future?
The cancer doesn't disappear.
The prodigal hasn't come home.
"She" continues to irritate me and I still can't fit into my skinny jeans.
Most of our life's situations, we can't change. And resolve as we may, we often cannot even change ourselves, as much as we want to and as much as we endeavor to.
But, hope springs eternal, and we scratch out our lists and make our plans.
We create our "Utopia" in our minds.
The saying goes - "Man plans and God laughs!"
But, does He, really??
I don't think so. I think He might sigh a sigh of frustration; a sigh of concern, seeing what we can't see in our future.
But laugh, No! I really don't think so. His heart is filled with love and compassion for us and He wants to - longs to - see us succeed.
But He also knows when we make attempts in our own strength, we are bound to fail. Our feeble resolutions may carry us for a short time, but usually not for the long haul. This is why you see a surge in membership at local gyms the first part of January. Most of us who are regular at the gym, tolerate the influx and know that by the end of February, things will have settled back down again!!
So, are we doomed to forever fail?
No, no and no!!
Scripture has much to say to address this situation:
"Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
2 Corinthians 5:17
"For it is God which works in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
"He has shown thee, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"
He is the one who gives us the grace and the ability to effect the change in our lives as we walk with Him, listen to Him, obey Him, but most of all, love Him.
Instead of making resolutions that most likely will not be kept, endeavor to "do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God."
God is not interested in our performance and I also don't think He's too impressed with our efforts at self-improvement, unless that self-improvement involves matters of the heart.
As you begin this new year, see it more as a continuation of your life in Christ; a continuation of your desire to follow Him, to please Him; a continuation of letting go and letting God.
The memories from 2014 that bring you joy - treasure them!
The memories from 2014 that bring you regret - let them go!
But the changes that God wrought in your heart in 2014 - the trials you walked through, the triumphs you experienced, the failures you endured - take those with you into 2015 and let them shape who you become in your future.
"My times are in your hands."
ALL your times are in His hands - always!
May God bless you with more of Him in the days ahead.
Happy, Blessed New Year!