Life, Simply for 2020

new years resolutions

I started this blog entry several days ago but couldn’t get the thoughts flowing. I’ve learned from experience when that happens to set it aside. If it comes around again, then write. It wasn’t until I finally sat down and started writing in my personal journals that things began to coalesce. I offer it to you in the spirit of sharing ideas and not necessarily saying that it’s something you should do. But it might be worth a try.

The usual practice at the beginning of a new year is to make plans and resolutions. Like most everyone else I’ve done that most of my life. The resolutions usually wither away some time in February. The plans may see partial implementation but usually never come to fruition because of distractions and everyday life (or am I repeating myself?). It’s because most of the plans involve things that are either inconsequential or are so grandiose and self-serving as to be impossible to accomplish.

I ran across the above illustration several years ago, most likely on Facebook. After a bit of thought I decided they were the only resolutions I needed. They were big enough to require most of my time, and were comprehensive enough to cover anything else that would be subject to resolution. The first is relatively easy; it’s the implementation that’s the most difficult but has the lasting effects. So I begin each year by looking at this under the glass on my writing desk and starting in on them one more time.

This year I decided to add one more resolution. I decided to simply be open to whatever God has in mind or wherever he chooses to lead me. No big plans, no resolutions, no thoughts about going here or there, changing this or that. The few times in my life I did led to amazing results. They were also the last thing I would have planned on my own. In at least one case I didn’t see the results until years later (in fact, I thought maybe I’d misinterpreted the signs). But by looking back retrospectively and taking a long view of our life I could see where God’s hand had been at work. I just needed to pay better attention at the time.

This doesn’t mean I’m simply going to sit and do nothing or neglect daily responsibilities and activities. As God’s servant I still have a task to spread his message of hope and share my blessings with others. That means day-to-day involvement. But what I need to remember is this: if I belong to Jesus Christ, I know my final destination but not necessarily all the stops before I get there.

In thinking about this I was reminded of Philip the evangelist. We’re first introduced to him in Acts 6, where he is one of seven chosen to care for the Hellenistic widows. When persecution in Jerusalem begins in earnest, Philip goes to Samaria and becomes part of a very successful ministry. In the midst of this God sends him to the southern desert of Israel on a lonely road to meet a man in a chariot. He was the treasurer for Queen Candace of Ethiopia, a Jewish convert who was reading the book of Isaiah and had many questions. Philip was the one sent to answer them and teach him about Christ. The result was a convert to Christianity and the seed of the Good News carried to Ethiopia. All because Philip was willing to go where he was sent.

My desire is to be fully submissive to Christ and a vessel dedicated to God’s purposes, no matter what they may be. My past and current circumstances suggest this will be a year of some significant changes, but I have no idea what they may be. Rather than trying to anticipate the outcome, I would rather dedicate myself to waiting on God to reveal His designs and purposes. His plans always work out better than mine.