I used to make New Year's resolutions. I distinctly remember meeting up with my friend Russ Moore at a Waffle House and we would hash out the previous year (see what I did there?), and go over with a fine-tooth comb the things we wanted to improve about ourselves or see come to pass.
Scattered, covered, and cubed as we shared the previous year's successes and failures.
For all the planning and plotting I rarely accomplished all of the items on my list. Luckily, the purpose was found in setting achievable goals rather than accomplishing all of them. Looking back, I think I engaged in the endeavor because there was a promise of waffles.
I'm spending New Year's this go-round with my family at the lake. A friend of ours was very generous in offering us some time for respite at their lake house and it has been a much needed oasis for us all. We even made a trip to Waffle House. Scattered, covered, and cubed.
As we come to the end of 2021, my thoughts have drifted over this past year. The summits we have experienced and the depths of the valleys we have walked have been life-changing.
We entered into New Year's 2021 anticipating a return to something that resembled normalcy. We all had just come through our first pandemic in generations and signs were pointing to a turn around.
How wrong we were.
Standing on this side of 2021, I'd happily take 2020 again. I think many of you would too.
We would take 2020 again not because we relish lockdowns and stay-at-home ordinances. Not because we have a zest for quarantines or remote work or school.
We would gladly take 2020 back because it means the ones we lost are here.
But this is New Year's 2021 and we're staring into 2022 and I'm hesitant to expect anything good to happen as we all step through the door into the unknown.
As I was thinking about all of these things and how to even approach a new year with so many uncertainties, my mind went to an old Irish hymn-poem - Be Thou My Vision.
*Side-bar: give a listen to Be Thou My Vision by Ascend the Hill. It's fantastic.*
The lyrics to the hymn resonated something deep within my soul and I knew that this is how I enter into this uncharted year.
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul's Shelter, Thou my high Tow'r;
Raise Thou me heav'nward, O Pow'r of my pow'r.
Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always;
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
High King of Heaven, my victory won;
May I reach Heaven's joys, O bright Heav'n's Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.
Setting our vision on Christ is how we move forward. Setting our vision on God's goodness and His faithfulness, even in the darkest times, guarantees us that whatever we face, we won't face it alone.
Christ is our victory, just as the lyrics say. God knew what would happen in 2021. He knows what's to come in 2022. We don't have to worry about what 2022 looks like because God is already there, waiting to meet us in the ups and downs of life.
God is waiting to meet you too. Look to Him and know He is working and moving for your good, despite what your surroundings look like or how you feel. The hope we have for a better 2022 can be found in Him.
I'm praying this new year will be filled with joy for you and for me.
I'm praying for redemption in the things that have been lost.
I'm praying for wholeness in the things that have been broken.
I'm praying for peace in our troubled seas.
I'm praying for guidance and wisdom in the unfamiliar.
I'm praying for healing in the sickness.
I'm praying for comfort in the heartache.
I'm praying for new depths of knowledge in Christ.
I'm praying for victories in our struggles.
I'm praying that in 2022, whatever befall, still be my vision, O Ruler of all.