As this new year began, I found myself looking around to see what others were saying about the coming year, what hopes they had for the months ahead, what they were looking forward to doing or being.
And I was disappointed.
It turns out that most people are not "resolving" anything in particular for 2011. They say making resolutions feels like adding more things to an already overloaded to-do list. They say putting a time limit on what they want to accomplish isn't going to help them get it done any sooner. They say the turning over of another year is just another day.
I used to think so, too.
But this past year changed me in ways I couldn't have guessed when I wrote my New Year's post for 2010. In a year overflowing with both brokenness and healing, I experienced the beauty of new beginnings in nearly every corner of my life.
And despite what some may say, the start of a year is a beautiful new beginning. A chance to reflect on where we've been and how we've lived. A chance to consider who we are becoming and how that measures up to what God has called us to be. A chance to choose a different path if we find ourselves going somewhere He hasn't led us.
Oh, I know. I know that every day is a new beginning. And we can reflect, consider, and choose on any given day of the year. But do we?
And I am hopeful, even confident that this year will be full of many new beginnings. For me. For you. For all of us.
But I don't want to let this particular new beginning pass me by just because I'll have another chance to start again tomorrow or the next day or the next. I want to start again today. I want to reflect, consider, and choose today.
I spent much of last week reflecting on what this past year has been about for me. And oddly enough, it's been about making progress. The very thing I set out to do from the beginning.
I wanted to make progress in my relationship with God, and miracle of all miracles, God came near and my faith returned.
I wanted to make progress in my health, and beyond all expectations, God brought me a diagnosis and the beginning of a new life.
I wanted to make progress in my work, and just when I needed it most, I was able to drop to part-time hours and give myself time to live, breathe, and focus on recovery.
And I can't help but wonder what would have happened if I hadn't deemed 2010 as the year for making progress? Would these things still have taken place? Or would I still be mired in two years of grief and devastation? I don't know for sure, but something inside is telling me that even in the midst of our broken relationship, God prompted me to choose this path of making progress so that He could set about doing what He does best. Changing the unchangeable. Healing the brokenness. Rebuilding the ruins. Giving birth to new life.
In light of all that has taken place this past year, how can I do anything other than embrace the beginning of a new year and choose a path for the coming months?
As I've been considering what direction to take for 2011, two things have drawn me: The way my friend Kimberley asks God for a word or verse to focus on in the new year and the way Ann Voskamp names each new year. Until I began writing this post, I didn't think I was ready for either one. But this verse keeps coming back to mind:
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)And I have decided to name 2011 the Year of Faith.
It is a year for re-learning what faith is all about. A year for allowing God to rebuild what has been lost between us. A year for believing that my healing will continue, both in my soul and in my body. A year for falling in love and falling in step with the Author and Perfecter of my faith.
Of course, only He knows what this year will entail. Only He knows what I will learn about faith and how I will learn it. Only He knows what will be rebuilt and what will be torn down, what will heal and what will break.
Only He knows.
And that's okay with me.
Because I am beginning this year with more than just hope. I am beginning it with a strange certainty that what lies ahead will be full of His Glory, full of His Redeeming Work in me, full of His Goodness no matter the circumstances. Full of Him.
Yes, I am beginning 2011 with a strange certainty called Faith.
And I have never been more excited to see a year unfold.