The end of the year isn’t really about festivities for me.
Instead it’s more reflection – something I enjoy immensely. And for those of us who have the habit, it’s also a time to make resolutions for the new year. I know I’m not the only one who loves relieving memories from the year gone by! The technology of today makes that process even easier: Every photo taken is stored, every written note saved and every song played, remembered.
I’m old school as well, so one of my favourite things is to thumb through the physical journals that I have filled up through the year. I want to remember both the joys and heartaches, the victories and losses.
There are many, because I make it a point to journal every day, even if it’s just the line, “God, I’m sorry, but I’m too tired to lift my pen further.” Thank goodness He understands.
Yet even as I read through the journals this round, I did not find that familiar sense of peace even though I still appreciated the walk down memory lane. I didn’t know why. When I asked God, the answer came quickly, and it stung. The lyrics from a #THIRSTACOUSTIC video was what gave me my answer.
‘Cause this life is not about me
Oh, it’s all about You
These were lyrics that I had heard or read through multiple times. Yet I had never been awakened to the weight of its meaning until that moment.
It struck me that all my memories, good or bad, were all centred around me. My walk with Christ, my feelings and thoughts, they all revolved around me. There was nothing about or for others in my resolutions.
It struck me that all my memories, good or bad, were all centred around me.
Realising just how self-indulgent I was … was crushing. I’m not saying that focusing on yourself is wrong. Neither am I suggesting that the desire to improve yourself is necessarily ego-centric. Journaling helps us process our thoughts and remember important events.
It’s just that I’ve realised this: Life is not all about us.
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)
The truth is we were created for more than ourselves. We were created by God to glorify Him, and part of glorifying Him necessarily involves how we relate to others. So we love them as God would, serve them as He would – and bring a revelation of Truth to them.
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” (Galatians 5: 13)
Wanting to be a better version of ourselves each year is great. But wanting to be a version of ourselves who God wants us to be – that’s being kingdom-minded.
When I realised this and changed my attitude towards making self-centred resolutions, the Lord dropped a challenge in my heart for the upcoming new year: Beyond personal sabbaticals and church events, all my overseas trips for 2019 are to be missional in nature.
I’m not going to lie, that was a scary commitment to make.
It’s not that I wasn’t willing to go for mission trips. It was being challenged to make all my trips salty (Matthew 5:13-16) in nature. That means stepping out of my comfort zone even when I wanted to relax on a personal retreat.
If you’re still setting resolutions for the new year, I hope you’re excited to find out what the Lord will challenge you with. Here are some practical steps to help you dream for 2019.
After repenting, I surrendered all of myself. The Lord only issued me a spiritual challenge when I surrendered myself wholly and fully. Spiritual breakthroughs can only come when we’re entirely in the posture of surrender.
2. Love others
Ask the Lord to drop someone in your heart before you plan your resolutions. These would be the ones you minister or reach out to in 2019. It’s as simple as a prayer. Then trust that the Lord will speak.
Look at your resolutions. Dream of how they will help others and minister to them as God empowers you. He will always help you when it comes to achieving His purposes.