• Beth Hildebrand

Did you eat your black-eyed peas and collard greens?

Did you eat black-eyed peas and collard greens on New Year’s day for good luck in 2013? (I remember there were a few times my mom made black-eyed peas on New Years day but that was really the only time I remember eating them. They were definitely not my favorites, nothing I’d ask to have on my birthday dinner for sure! I’ve never had collard greens being the city girl I am). Did you lounge on the sofa watching parades and football and finish up munchies from the eve before? Did you make a list of resolutions; the things you want to change about yourself this year?

If I’m anything like I’ve been in the past, I already know most resolutions won’t last much longer than a month. Resolutions like exercise more, eat healthier, dust the furniture and mop the floors more often. But I just forget about them or simply give up. This year I’d love to make it a goal to manage my time better. Walk faster when I take the dog for a walk. Dust the furniture and mop the floors more often.

We, or I can at least speak for myself, confess that I’ve made goals and didn’t even ask or listen to what God’s plan is for me in the coming year. What is it that God wants you to do this year? It’s a good question to ask Him and then listen…all year long. In years past, I’ve made my own goals but by the end of the year, they are no where near what I planned at the beginning of it. There’s been events and habits that I never thought of setting or accomplishing and they turned out to be even better than what I had in mind. I am sure you can think of a time or two when that’s happened to you, also.

But I’m still going to strive to make some changes and maybe try something new. This year, I want it to be the Year to REach. Reach to live more a James 1:27 life. Reach out more to the widows around me. Reach out to the hungry in the community. Reach out to the hungry in third world countries. Reach out of my comfort zone wherever that leads. Reach out to grab hold of Jesus, who is always waiting and always desiring to be reached for, and never let go.

God’s grace is reaching for us. This year I want remembering that promise to become a habit I won’t forget.

Yes, I want my resolutions to become habits that I don’t have to try to re-do at the start of the next year because I failed to do it…again. As Ann Voskamp said, “A habit is the way we wear our days.” I want it to stay a habit to count the gifts God so graciously gives. It’s a habit I never want to break.

If you do want to reflect and resolute this beginning of 2013, I recommend doing this practice below. Fil Anderson, a spiritual formation director, author and speaker gave me a list of questions to ponder at the end/beginning of the year. He said centuries ago Christ followers wanted to have a “spiritual rhythm that included examining our days and years in order to see how God has been active in our lives.” This habit was passed down for many generation including ours.

Below are some questions to ponder and I highly recommend writing your reflection down in a journal or typing in your computer or iPod. Put your response somewhere so you can look at it again in six months and at the end of this year. It’s a good habit to form to start each new year.

1. What name would you give your journey of the past year? How would you describe it to one of your friends? What picture or figure of speech would you use to talk about it? 2. Where did you notice God at work in your life in the past year? How did God’s presence influence and/or change you? 3. Did any of your hopes and dreams become a reality? 4. What were your biggest disappointments?

Now that we’ve headed into 2013, here are some similar questions to consider:

1. What name would you like your new year’s journey to have? What are you longing for in the coming year? 2. Of what are you most afraid as you proceed into the new year? 3. How is your relationship with God as you begin this new year, and how do you hope it will change in 2013?

Praying and asking for you to be blessed this year! May you discover or rediscover the lavish love and plans God has for you. Jeremiah 29:11-12.


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