New Year’s Revelation
I have never made new year’s resolutions, but I always take time to review the past year and pray and ask God for a new year’s revelation. For most of us, 2021 didn’t go quite as expected. For me, 2020 was an awakening and I had great expectations of 2021. But I underestimated what my new beginning would look like and how long it would take. The truth is that change doesn’t come easily, or quickly. As we enter this new year, I sense God whispering to all of us to be patient and compassionate with ourselves.
What are you letting go?
I didn’t realize I was holding onto expectations until I started feeling disappointed with myself near the end of this year. I thought I’d see more visible progress in 2021. My ego likes to have visible, tangible progress that I can point to. And my inner critic loves to point out my lack thereof. But real change isn’t visible at first – it starts as a seed in the deepest part of the heart. It takes time for it to take root, and when it does emerge, it is very tiny. Am I ok with who I am if there is no visible productivity or measurable evidence? If what I do or who I become goes unnoticed by others? As I begin 2022, I am letting go of my expectation of what growth will look like, or how long it will take. I’m letting go of self-judgment. Letting go is not a one-time choice, but a process.
What are you holding onto?
More than ever, this year I am holding onto my relationship with God. When I focus on myself, I am always disappointed, but God has always surprised me with His love and goodness. I believe God is real and He has amazing things in store if we are asking, looking and trusting. But in order to experience what God is doing now, I have to let go of my pre-conceived ideas and the familiarity of past experiences with God. It isn’t easy to do this, and sometimes when the old ways of connecting with God no longer work, it can feel like God has left us. So we cling to our past experiences to sustain us, or we try to recreate them by doing the same things we were doing when we encountered God before. Eventually, the fire of authentic connection is exchanged for the lukewarm comfort of familiar forms and rituals.
Jesus said: “No one rips up a new garment to make patches for an old, worn-out one…And who pours new wine into an old wineskin? If someone did, the old wineskin would burst and the new wine would be lost. New wine must always be poured into new wineskins. Yet you say, ‘The old ways are better,’ and you refuse to even taste the new that I bring.” (Luke 5:36-39). Are we trying to fix up the old wineskin and in the process, missing out on the new wine?
Letting Go and Looking Up
What is your new year’s revelation? I believe God has amazing things in store for us, and as we release our old ‘wineskins’, He will give us new ones. Wineskins that can contain the new wine without breaking, so we can experience more of His Spirit. The best part is, it’s not about our efforts. It’s about letting go and looking up. Let’s turn our eyes and expectations off of ourselves and onto God, and prepare to be amazed.