Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing. Isaiah 43:18-19
Oh, the promise of the New Year. A chance to make changes. Try something new. Correct all that was wrong with the past year. Time to make a list of new goals, most of which will be deserted by February.
It’s for this reason I began a couple years ago to chose just one word that would shape each new year. One word that God had laid on my heart to live out in my life. This past year, the word laid on my heart was perseverance. And, as begin to reflect on 2015, I have to ask myself if I really allowed this word to transform me? Did my actions and choices live up to its meaning?
Honestly, I didn’t embrace what it would mean in my life. Instead, I let illness and the dark days of winter sink me into a mild depression. I let criticism make me lose focus on my purpose, and instead fulfilled the purpose others had for me. I didn’t take care of myself, so consumed with taking care of the needs of others. I started things, and never finished them. I came close to giving in, and plain quitting, because it seemed easier than pushing through. I lost faith. I quit praying. I left too much undone, and too many words unsaid. I became a cynical, unloving, and angry woman. Taking every slight and hurt to heart, until I was a shell of the person I used to be.
And, as I sit here reflecting on that word-perseverance-I begin to wonder how I failed to allow it to transform me, and I realize I probably never had an idea what it meant in the midst of change and adversity. The word, perseverance, means much more than endurance, finishing, or not giving up. This is how it is usually defined, but most don’t know that it has another meaning as well: “grace to the end.”
His grace. His purpose. His leading in my life despite adversity. Living my full potential each and every day. Knowing He will sustain me and push me through to the end.
But, why was actually doing it-persevering-so difficult?
Because, I couldn’t let go. I held onto resentment, guilt, the past, my hurts, and my failures. I couldn’t persevere and keep running without letting go. Without complete surrender and release of all that held me back from my purpose.
So, this year…I will surrender. Let go. Endure life’s difficulties knowing I am His. Embrace who He has made me to be, despite popular opinion, or any uphill battle.
I will surrender to His will for my life, keeping in mind a few things I must let go of along the way. Making a few vows. Choosing not to settle for anything less than His purpose, and releasing anything that stands in the way. Despite difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.
I will surrender the tendency to let the darkness of this world consume my mood and thoughts, but will be the light in that darkness. As well as one in my home. At work. In my community.
I will surrender the need for perfect children, and allow them to make and learn from their mistakes.
I surrender my need to please. I will embrace who God made me to be, not what others would like me to be.
I surrender the desire to run from the past in an attempt to forget it. Instead, I will give back to those who shaped it. Forgive those who maimed it. Teach others the lessons learned, and know that this past has made me who I am today.
I will surrender my fears. Those irrational ones that keep me from truly living. Face the unknown. Finally take steps to fulfill a dream.
I will dance in the rain.
I will intentionally put those “I’ll pray for you’s” into practice.
I will surrender the need to see life through the lens of my smart phone, and immerse myself in each and every glorious moment. Seeing life through my own eyes.
I’ll learn to love my own company. Call an old friend to catch up. Dress up- just because.
I surrender my insecurities, my fear of rejection, or of being misunderstood. I will say what needs to be said. Even if it hurts. Even if it is scary. Even if it is hard.
I will surrender my selfishness, hate, and regrets.
And, I will love-without abandon. Despite obstacles. Despite disagreements. Despite differences. Even if it is complicated. Even if it is messy.
I will surrender negativity, and anything or anyone that may creep in to cause me to lose my peace of mind, my faith, my sense of self. I will surround myself with positive people. Those who encourage me and push me to be better.
I will embrace distance that keeps those I hold dear far away. Knowing it is necessary for growth, opportunity, and change that won’t happen in the four walls called “home.”
I will surrender my fear of failure. I will try new things-not giving up when they don’t come easy.
I will surrender the belief that the world is full of evil, and choose to remember all that is good and true. Seeing this good in others, even when it seems hard to find. Even when I have been hurt. Even in the midst of tragedy.
This year, I will find the strength and peace to let go. To release all that holds me back from Him. To simply surrender.
The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20, MSG