There is something about the ending of one year and the beginning of a new one that causes a pause in life’s machinery for most of us. It provides us with just enough time for a little introspection. This affects us in various ways – from a sigh of relief that the old year is passed, hope at the promise of a new year, a creeping dread that this year may not be much different than last, or it may be a time of anticipation and hope as exciting plans are made for the future. Some of us may end up with just a good case of the “I’m so tired” blahs as we slide from one year to the next.
However, through the years, I have become increasingly aware of the fact that if I will approach this final holiday of the holiday season with faith and hope, it can truly make all the difference in the world. If my evaluation of the previous year – and my anticipation for the coming year – are both filled with thanksgiving I become more and more aware of the gifts God has given me.
Being “New Year” conscious, I want to share a few personal musings for this time of year. Several years ago, in a simple way, I analyzed and evaluated where I was in life, what I had done so far, and what I wanted to do. I identified the areas in my life I felt I needed to shape up. I calculated that within two years I could catch up, grow enough, and make my way to a more productive phase of life. In reality, it took more time than I thought. Retrospective, it required more discipline than I anticipated.
Don’t misunderstand me. I did a lot of catching up. I reached many goals and solved a lot of problems, dispelled a lot of fears, and increased my faith. Believe me, though, I learned in the process that there are still things to be conquered, still tasks to be accomplished, still goals to be reached. Sometimes life really is like the carrot hanging from a stick – you keep moving toward it, and it keeps being just beyond our reach. However, it is in the striving – the reaching – the stretching and growing – that His will and work is accomplished in us.
If you have experienced these feelings, let me share with you the scriptures that ease my anxiety. Exodus 23:29-30 says this: “I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee. By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.”
What would life be without goals to accomplish, areas to be conquered, things to do, and yes, even pressure to get it done? It would not be blissful – more likely boring and rather desolate. Even now, when others might say, as my husband and I are in our 80s, we cannot imagine sitting in our recliners and rocking the rest of our lives away. There are still dreams to make come true, goals to be reached, changes to be facilitated, work to be done. We are not through learning and growing. Neither are you.
Take a little time out this and contemplate this New Year. Take a deep breath. Face the future – with all the changes and challenges it will bring – and take the leap! He is with you . . .and “little by little” all things will be accomplished.