As hard as I try, I can’t seem to shake the nostalgia of starting a new year. Reflection is almost automatic during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve and I just can’t help myself when I start making a mental list of things I would like to do all year long. And, just like some 80% of those who make resolutions, I rarely can say – “Yes, I did _________ ALL year.” So, then I end up spending far too much time pondering whether my resolutions are worthy of trying to keep or even worthy of being written down (because that seems so permanent) and I just give up on the idea altogether. When failure is 80% likely, I’m not much of a fighter.
This year did seem a little different though. In all my time wrestling my mental list, I felt like 2014 deserved a fair welcoming because I was more than ready to kick 2013 out the door. I had been seeing a lot of posts about how people are replacing traditional resolutions with words or phrases that they hope to define their upcoming year. I was intrigued, but also a little overwhelmed at the thought of narrowing down one word to make the pinnacle of a whole year. And then it oddly seemed like everywhere I was looking was telling me not to fear, that this is the year of unafraid. To be fearless.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand.” Isaiah 41:10
Well, good grief. If anyone is more controlled by fear than me, I would like to meet them. Far too much of my life (even childhood) has been driven by fear. I don’t know how, when, or where it originated, but almost every decision I’ve made has had some element of fear involved, often a much bigger role than necessary. So I knew, fearless was my word. And I was already scared of that.
“For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Now before you start expecting me to jump out of a plane or shave my head or climb Mount Everest, that’s not quite where I’m headed with this goal. Being constantly afraid of the unknown and taking risks are two different things. My attempt looks more like not being afraid to let Elly explore her growing world, not being afraid of not having enough, and not being afraid of germs. (Gasp.) But I have a year to work on it, a year to maybe look back and say I’m not as afraid as I was during the last week of 2013 (because I battled some demons last week.)
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
I do have other goals – what perfectionist wouldn’t? But I do hope to give myself a little more grace and lean in to God a lot more as the unknown of 2014 opens up.