Thursday, May 30 2024 - 7:29 AM
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Planning His Presence

Past memories, new beginnings, and goal-oriented lists . . . these are the words we correlate with the New Year. Most of us associate this holiday with elaborate or intimate celebrations and fancy toasts. Every year I look forward to a fresh start—a chance to improve myself. And this year I’m particularly excited about new opportunities.

Awaiting the New Year, I did an impromptu survey on social media. I asked a variety of family and friends this question: “If you could describe the year 2019 in one word or sentence, what would it be?” Here is a list of responses:

  • Tribulation
  • Death of civility
  • Demise of morals
  • Learning experience
  • Heartache

As I re-read some of these responses, I couldn’t help but make a list for myself. And after several minutes of list-making, I noticed a distinct pattern in my answers—they were all negative. The year 2019 has proven to be one of the most challenging. At the beginning of the year, I planned and promised myself two things:

  1. I wouldn’t let others’ negativity get to me.
  2. I would choose to be happy and positive no matter the circumstances.

Good Intentions and Resolutions

Unfortunately, I failed on both accounts. I’ve struggled internally with myself all year and chosen to be negative to self-soothe. My good intentions and self-promises fell through like summer sand between my fingers. I spent the whole year feeling sorry about my misfortunes while promising myself that I would try harder tomorrow. As the year comes to a close, I’m disappointed in myself for giving up so quickly in tribulation. Instead of communicating with my Heavenly Father, I made up cheap excuses for my brokenness. And in the end, I’ve only got myself to blame.

When we make resolutions for ourselves, it’s easy to project important things into the future. We promise ourselves that we’ll do it tomorrow, next week, or the following year, instead of accomplishing them at the moment. As the New Year approaches, I ask myself this question: How many times have I put off my relationship with Christ? Unfortunately, too many times to count.

Committing Plans to the Lord

In the last several years, I’ve poured my focus into unrealistic resolutions that have resulted in me avoiding the most important relationship of all. Although my motives were laced with good intentions, I neglected to include God in my search for happiness. Perhaps my challenging year could have been more prosperous if I’d given myself to Christ instead of trying to fix my own mistakes. As I close out the year 2019, I’m filled with eternal hope in Proverbs 16:3.

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans” (Proverbs 16:3, NIV).

This passage of scripture is a challenge because it requires me to give my plans into God’s care and keeping. My greatest desire is to allow God to have complete control and let Him do what I never can do within myself, but I need His help to make that moment-by-moment commitment. In 2020, what steps will you take to strengthen your relationship with Christ?

If you liked this, you might also like Change the World | God Has a Wonderful Plan for Your Life 

Madeleine Lowe writes from Indiana.

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About Madeleine Lowe

Madeleine Lowe

writes from the Midwest.

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