Surrender the New Year
The new year sits like an unwrapped gift. 365 days waiting to be opened, each one filled with possibility. I look at the calendar sitting open on my desk, already a checkerboard of appointments and events scattered among the blank, white squares. What retirement adventures await in 2018?
Always a planner, I look forward to what 2018 holds. The new things God has for me. This year, the first full year of retirement fills me with excitement. And just a little trepidation.
We’re pretty well settled now, three months after moving into our brand new house. I don’t have to open several drawers in the kitchen to find the right utensil or mixing bowl. When I see a neighbor, I remember their name and can greet people at church. I can even ask about their kids and grandkids, how they feel after knee surgery, or rejoice over a prayer request answered.
This year, more of the calendar squares lie empty, and I don’t want to waste the gift.
Since 2013, instead of making New Year’s resolutions, I chose one word to use as a lens to focus how I view the world. Measure what I do and say, how I react and respond. Always with the goal of making Jesus the center of everything.
As I listed words, prayed over each one, and looked at the new calendar, I realized I needed to surrender 2018 to God. To surrender my have-a-plan-and-be-in-control personality. I didn’t want to make the mistakes of the past, depending on myself and coasting on what I know (or think I know). I want to be open to God’s voice. To be still and let Him lead. To seek Him every day.
My retirement adventures of 2018 will come in surrendering to God.
Four Ways to Surrender to God in 2018
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you (Colossians 3:16).
1.Spend time reading and studying, meditating and praying His Word. When we study God’s Word, it lives in our hearts and minds, drawing us near to Him, so we respond to His leading throughout the day. Study on your own, join a Bible study through your church, and/or online.
This year, I commit to memorizing the book of Colossians. Will you join me? If it seems a little overwhelming, Ann Voskamp has a plan with handy index-sized cards you can download here. Just two verses a week.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
2.Rejoice always. No matter what, I can rejoice. God never leaves me or forsakes me. I have the hope of heaven. It is well with my soul. I surrender when, even in the middle of the things that I don’t like, I rejoice in the Truth of Who God is and who I am because of Christ.
3.Pray continually. I can’t surrender only on January 1. That means before every decision, no matter how big or small, I must pray. Pray before I answer a question or respond to someone else. If I need to surrender 31,556,926 times a day, I do it. And it starts with prayer.
4.Give thanks in all circumstances. No matter how difficult the circumstances, I surrender by giving thanks. Jesus is Lord! God’s plan is for good. He is merciful and kind and loving.
How will you unwrap the gift of 2018? Do you have one word that God placed in your heart for this year? Share in the comments what your word is and how you hope it will focus you on Christ in 2018.
This is my sixth #oneword. To read the previous words I’ve chosen, click here.
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