I believe that, for most of us, we cannot help but analyze the closing year and set our hopes high for the future. We make new resolutions and set new goals. We reload our hearts with new dreams. Gyms get crowded in January; diet plans get uploaded to our smartphones and writers launch books about accomplishing more and better things. And before we know it, we join the throng, filling our New Year’s resolution list with goals to become better, stronger, healthier and more accomplished than we were before, all the while forgetting to seek God’s face and ask him to show us his plan for us for the New Year.
That’s why I don’t have a list of New Year’s resolutions this year. In all honesty, it’s not that I couldn’t use losing some pounds, eating healthier or accomplishing more. These are all perfectly good goals. It’s just that, the more I seek God’s face in the past several weeks, the more I find him writing down one simple resolution in my heart: He wants me to simply love being myself.
He wants me to take his gifts for me, as small as they may be in comparison to others’, and cherish them with sincere gratitude. He wants me to look at my body and be grateful for what I have, instead of comparing it to the girl on the treadmill beside me. He wants me to look at my wrinkles, and welcome them as proof of the many lessons I’ve learned to become the person I am. He wants me to seek him and his righteousness first, knowing that all that I need will be added, as it always has.
I believe one of the reasons some of us find ourselves so miserable at the end of the year is because we look to the past with incredibly critical eyes, often forgetting that many of our unfulfilled goals were never meant for us, anyway. I think about my journey this past year as my first book was published. I found myself feeling miserable after the hype of the book launch was over. I set expectations for the whole process that weren’t fulfilled as expected.
But today I realize that those were my prideful expectations, not God’s. I was disappointed because I was comparing my road to other’s. What a trap! As I acknowledged my weakness and confessed my ingratitude, it was so clear that I had set goals that were never meant for me, anyway.
As 2016 dawns, I approach it with the expectations and hopes of a child as she opens her gifts on Christmas morning. I know that God has beautiful gifts for the new year. Some of them will require time, effort and sacrifice to work. Some gifts may not look like gifts, but burdens. Some will be wonderful surprises, beyond my wildest dreams. But the best gift I carry into this New Year is the peace to know that my path was designed especially for me. I shall embrace it, reminding myself that, just as I have particular and unique fingerprints, God designed me to accomplish a plan that was custom made, just for me.
Comparing my accomplishments to someone else’s at the end of the year is a trap that I want to avoid at all costs in 2016. I want to learn to embrace the person I am, and the gifts God designed especially for me, for such a time as this.
Patricia Holbrook is a Christian author and national conference speaker. Her book, “Twelve Inches: Bridging the Gap Between What You Know About God and How You Feel,” is available on Kindle, at Barnes and Nobles, Amazon and other retailers. Visit her website at www.soaringwithhim.com Email: pholbrook@soaringwithHim.com.