Looking at “2023,” as I wrote it down on paper yesterday, seemed so odd, and we’re just three days in. It just doesn’t look right. It’s not that it’s all that different from “2022,” but then, in a way, it is.
2022 was a year I can’t forget, filled with some of the most amazing blessings I have experienced to date. There is no doubt – and never has been – that God is GOOD. A very present help in times of trouble. The one my soul hungers and thirsts for. The One who fills every void.
But 2022 is also a year that brought the most crushing experience of my entire life. And for that alone, I could almost agree to have the whole thing wiped from my memory.
We sometimes must bear up beneath horrible circumstances. There’s no doubt about that. And Jesus is faithful to comfort us, even in the heaviest situations. But sometimes, you have to remind yourself… daily. Sometimes, even more than that. Minute-ly. Second-ly.
Three Days In
We’re only three days into January. I didn’t make any resolutions because I’ve never been a “resolution” kind of person. But I did pray. And that’s so much better.
We must always, as Paul said, run the race as if it were our goal to win the prize. When we’re feeling strong, that’s easy! But when we’re weak in spirit, it’s pretty hard.
But you know what I noticed? That even when we’re weak in spirit, people still need us. And we aren’t any good to anyone if we’re “checked out” of life.
Sometimes, I don’t feel like I can find my way back. Oh, I’m good with God. I’m not saying I’ve backslidden. I mean finding my way back to “regular.”
But then it occurred to me that maybe “regular” isn’t where Jesus wants me at all! Was I ever even meant to be “regular” at all?
I don’t think so.
Not knocking regularness, but the Bible says we, as believers, are supposed to be something… so much more. The Truth makes us free. Makes us light-bearers. Makes us equipped for all good works.
There’s Scripture after Scripture and promise after promise that backs it all up. When we’re faithful to open the Book and read, HE is faithful to highlight passages and raise them off the page to ensure us that He will never leave nor forsake us.
Some days, I spend more time praying for discernment than anything else. And boldness. I pray for that a lot too. I know what I believe and why. But there isn’t much room for sharing that in the layout of my life, and that makes me feel like a vine that isn’t bearing fruit.
And that’s scary.
He may not have given us a spirit of fear, but when we feel separated from Him somehow… well, that’s on us! Once saved, always saved is not backed up anywhere in the Word. But Jesus was plain when he said it’s those who do God’s will that makes it in.
Obedience is Better Than Sacrifice
It’s part of the simplicity of the Gospel. Can we earn our way into Heaven? Absolutely not. But there’s nothing there that says we can ignore the commandments of God and waltz through the gates, either.
Can we still be obedient when life pins us down? Can we make a difference somehow? Are some of us just meant to live in a way that can’t be classified as “regular”?
I don’t know yet. I’m still working on that.
We live in an age now where it’s easier to get locked into a normal that doesn’t look normal. And easier for some than for others. When you add in a million levels of doubt for reasons you can’t share with anyone, well… it makes it that much harder.
In lieu of resolutions, I choose due diligence as I head into this new year. Three days into the first month, and I’ve already seen struggles. But I know why they’re familiar.
We have an enemy that is relentless.
But we have a Father that is too.
And He left an entire guidebook on how to do life and encouraged its authors to remind us that it’s simpler than many would have us to believe. Having done all to stand, stand therefore.
Three days into January, and He’s still the same.