I can’t believe we’re about to celebrate the beginning of a new year! What happened to 2021? I remember when this year began, I was so ready for a fresh start, so hopeful for something easier. I’m not sure I would call the last year easier, would you? It felt like more of the same, minus a few highs and lows. I’m not sure exactly what I’m looking for with the arrival of 2022, but I have to believe it will be a bit brighter than the last twelve months. In years past I probably would’ve tried to have something clever to say or a quote to hang onto; I would be poised and ready to hang my new calendar on the fridge full of empty squares of days unlived; unlimited possibilities.
But, I’m not.
I haven’t even bought a calendar.
If you know me, you know that is VERY out of character. And yet, even though I’m not hanging the streamers or pulling out the party hats, I don’t dread the year ahead. On the contrary, I am looking forward to January with its cooler weather and cozy fires. I think what I’m actually feeling is a bit cautious. The expression “older and wiser” could probably describe my state of mind. Why? Because life has taught me with each new year comes a new set of joys and sorrows, expectations and failures, dreams realized and crushing disappointments.
The circle of life.
The insight of lessons learned.
Speaking of lessons, something the Lord has been dealing with me about lately is trusting Him from day to day; literally trusting him to provide exactly what I need when I need it. Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? And, my, don’t I tell myself I’m doing just that. I proclaim with my mouth I trust but what’s really going on in my heart?
That’s the million dollar question.
This year I got a little over involved in politics. Now, I’m not against the news or knowing current events, but I got a bit too wrapped up in what I saw going on around me in both the country and the church. I found myself reading news articles searching for opinions that backed up what I felt was true and rejecting what I disagreed with. I began to spend more and more time reading political news thinking that made me a responsible citizen. I mean, we need to know what in the world is going on around us, don’t we?! Sounds completely credible. And, at first, it was entertaining. It was so subtle and I started it all with such good intentions. I think I’m still sort of shell shocked at where it all led. Although the reading was keeping me informed, it was also growing an overwhelming sense of fear within me; the kind of fear that keeps you up at night.
I’ve said this before, and I lived it in a real way in 2021, we know too much. We weren’t meant to carry the burdens of the world around on our shoulders, I don’t think we’re meant to know all the information we subject ourselves to. So much of it we can do nothing about. I can hear some of you reminding me that we can always pray. Yes, that’s true. But, I can pray without knowing all the details. I can also trust that God will make sure situations are handled exactly the way he wants with or without my prayers.
Why do I need to know all about it all?
It’s a question that begs to be answered.
Why was I really reading and consuming all of this information? Was it really so I could pray about it? I’ve been blindsided before; have you? It’s a terrible feeling. If I could avoid being blindsided again, I would in a heartbeat. So it made sense to me to know as much as possible so I wouldn’t be shocked with bad news ever again. I wanted to be prepared mentally and emotionally for what might come. That’s what I told myself. But, in an honest and vulnerable moment, during another sleepless night, I had to confess what I was really after; a small sense of control in my little world.
The problem was, reading all the “what if’s” and controversy made me really afraid. It wasn’t preparing me for the future like I’d convinced myself. Nope. It just made me afraid of what might happen, or what could happen or what if it did happen? I concocted scenarios in my imagination and they became more real as I fed my mind daily with bad news. I didn’t put it all together at first. I thought I was scared because the world is scary. But, in time the Lord showed me I was literally feeding my fear. There’s something to be said for ignorance. By that I mean a willingness to not know much except Jesus. I understand now why “old” folks talk about Jesus being all you need. He’s not only all you need, he’s all you need to know. It takes great faith to trust him blindly not knowing what in the world may be next. And, yet it’s the place I’m finding the greatest peace. Proverbs 3:6 is a verse I quote often over my unruly mind…”Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your path straight.”
I don’t understand all that’s going on around me, probably never will. But, I don’t have to. I don’t have to know about it to pray about it. I trust he knows all the things that need to be known and I’ll pray for his will in all things. Then I’ll live out my day believing he’s got this. Easier said than done, I know. But, that’s my goal as we enter 2022.
To know Jesus more and everything else less.
Happy New Year!