The past three years have been the most challenging of my life. It’s been a time of testing and brokenness, followed by restoration and renewal, a sequence repeated over and over. This season has been marked both with tears and shouts of joy.
Joy? Yes, because at the same time, these years have been filled with blessings. People have been generous with practical supports and prayers, even from strangers across the nation (friends of friends who keep on praying). Having been on the giving end for many years, it’s humbling to be on the receiving end of the blessing exchange; humbling also to be so limited physically, mentally, and emotionally.
I’ve had to also fully embrace what I knew was true and to really take God at his Word. Knowing the bible is true is one thing. Surrendering our response to life’s curve balls and daily frustrations with the truth and power of God’s Word is quite another. But that is the epicenter of transformational change. Surrender never sounds appealing to our old way of thinking. But there are terms of surrender that are appealing if we can bring ourselves to accept them: Surrender pain for promise, anxiety for assurance, fretting for faith, bitterness for better relationships, and sorrow for simple joys. I’ve become accomplished at the first set of harmful behaviors and now am ready to completely trust God for the ones that heal and fulfill.
As I reflect on resolutions of New Years Past, most were to-do or wish lists, filled with ambitious fervor, hopes and dreams and plans for achievement….what I would DO. As I look to 2016, year four of this unexpected journey, I realize that our best resolution always comes down to BEING true to ourself and God, one day – one moment – at a time, not just trying to DO more. Do you agree?
One day at a time. All that remains within our sphere of control is the decisions We make about what thoughts we focus on and what actions we take. Will it be business as usual or will I determine to become all I was meant to be, a person of purpose and passion living moment by moment, firmly secured to the faith to which I cling?
One specific thing I am resolving to BE, by the power of God’s Spirit, is a person of peace and reconciliation. I am not going to turn away or disparage a friend who thinks differently than me, one whose political believes differ from mine, one whose financial setting is in contrast of mine, nor one whose faith isn’t the same as mine. I will not mock, ridicule, demean others or be quick to jump to conclusions based simply on what others say. Peacemakers hold firmly to faith but realize their role is one of loving influence, not one of control. Peacemakers open doors to reconciliation (with each other and with God). But ultimately each individual makes their own Choice of whether or not to go in.
In as far as it is possible, I want to live at peace with all, not compromising my core values and beliefs, but not alienating others in the world who are different. (The bible has something more to say about unity and division within the church.) What value is it to view one as a “conversion target” unless I first care for them?
Peacemakers remain committed to the Prince of Peace who empowers them to be a vessel of truth and peace, and only to the degree they are filled with his very essence – God’s own Spirit. From this, all else flows. It impacts our influence, our vision, our perspective and our ability to endure.
There is a real war fought with deadly force against those who would rob us of our freedoms and kill us. But there is another real war raging within use, threatening the harmonious relationships between us and others; us and God. Victory demands resolution not only of what we do, but also the person we become.
Here’s to resolutions based more on being all who God intends us to be!