I like lists and goals and working towards hard things. (sort of. I like working towards hard things that I have calculated I can control or accomplish.)
I like the freshness of a new year. The clean slate. The motivation of everyone else also making a list of goals.
I enjoy hearing about the goals others set.
I like the words that some people chose to pick out to define the upcoming year. I can’t ever narrow things down so elegantly, but I love when others do.
I like propelling towards change and betterment, and a new year is full of so much potential. A new year begs for goals to define it and lists to guide it, even if it’s just through the first few weeks of the new year.
I have thought about what I want my goals for 2015 to be. Every other year I have set goals. Some of those goals have transformed my very approach to life situations; like the year I only bought 12 personal items for myself. Or the year I decided to talk to strangers. Or the year I decided to read more books. Those big, crazy goals changed me, they made me see the world differently.
I have puzzled through this idea of what my goals should be in 2015 while listening to books and podcasts about goal setting and aiming high and personal development. I mean, it’s what I want, right? Personal development.
And yet, I am left feeling like it isn’t enough. It isn’t what I really want. I don’t want this year to be me deciding what I want to aim for.
Every single time I have considered the idea of what my focus or goals should be in 2015 I keep coming back to a simple phrase from a beautiful old hymn;
“Ponder anew what the Almighty can do.”
I want to watch what the Almighty God can do.
Ponder anew. A fresh perspective.
What I want is less of me and more of Him in 2015. Less of my ideas, my well intended plans, my lists … and more considering and witnessing the works of God.
Witnessing the wondrous works of God. There is so much I hurry over and don’t give much thought to. My days are busy and full of mundane tasks to be completed, and it is easy to soar through each day with a focus on just getting through.
There is much in life that is not fun or funny. There are serious, heavy burdens that weigh a soul down.
But God is there. In the mundane. In the heavy. In the hurt.
Stop and consider the wondrous works of God.
If the day is too busy to pause and reflect on the goodness of God, than the day is too full.
There is a challenging little verse in Psalms that talks about seeing the mighty works of God. It has been a verse that Paul and I have greatly enjoyed over the past few years.
One day I want to go out in deep waters just to capture a picture that will go well with this verse.
“Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters; they saw the deeds of the Lord, His wondrous works in the deep.”
The waters of the deep can be lonely. They can feel unsafe without the security of land in sight. The pounding waves can leave you battered and weary. Your direction can shift and you can feel like you are aimlessly floating. But there are incredible things to be seen when you are in the waters of the deep. Wonderful, awe inspiring things.
Because God is working. I can attest to it in my life.
There is such a peace to walk the journey of life in full confidence of the absolute goodness of our God. To rest thoroughly in the assurance that He is above all and goes before us and cares for us extravagantly.
Last year Wesley memorized this verse from Jeremiah 32;
“I am the Lord of all mankind – is anything to hard for me?”
I mean, really. Is anything too hard for Him?
How about this; Do I live like there is anything too hard for Him?
In reading through Psalms I came across this verse. It is talking about the righteous man (or woman);
“He is not afraid of bad news, his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.” (112:7)
What peace there would be if we could live with an eternal perspective in the midst of our chaotic, mundane lives.
To be pondering what God is doing. God. Not us. To accept the bad news with a heart that is firmly anchored in the knowledge that God is working in our lives for our good and for His glory. To spend time being still before Him.
It’s a new year to be lived for His glory. His provision to be manifested in our lives. His love to be poured out through us.
The incredible thing about watching God working is that we are left bursting to share of His goodness with others. It is a joy and a privilege to speak about the wondrous works of God to others. The most precious response came from an elderly man. Paul had just shared something with him about a big way God had provided for us for a need that no one knew we had, and the elderly man shook his head, slowly smiled, and then whispered, amazed; “I didn’t know God worked like that. I didn’t know He was so good.”
Maybe you’re in the same boat, and you don’t know that God is extravagantly good. I would challenge you this year to go to the deep waters. Be still. Ponder anew.