Christmas is quickly approaching, as is the New Year. Now, I know it seems a bit premature to talk about January when Christmas hasn’t yet passed, but it’s what’s on my mind, so here we go…
I like the thought of having a kind of theme to each year. Obviously a lot happens in a year and God can do a lot of different things in a year, but often when I look back I see overarching themes that really sum up my year. And for me, it helps focus me on my relationship with God, by praying about what He might want to show me in the following year, what He wants to work on and reveal to me.
For instance, in looking back at 2017, I see that many things that happened actually fell under the overarching theme of simply loving Jesus.
Here are a few examples that fall under that:
1. Seeing Jesus in everything, whether good or bad, and depending and leaning on Him in every circumstance (ultimately learning to love Him no matter what happens).
2. Realising that 2017 held a lot of small victories and small moments of stepping out further into God’s plan for me (seeing that He has every moment in His hand, and that I can trust Him and thus love Him with more integrity).
3. Understanding more of Jesus’ character, such as a comforter, counselor, healer, friend (basically loving Him for who He really is, not simply as that guy who did miracles in the Old Testament).
4. Being fearless in my love for Jesus and not being scared to show my love for Him (such as being more expressive in worship.)
5. Reading the Bible more readily and enjoying reading about Jesus.
With 2017, I also view my year as having a few smaller themes, kind of like subtitles, or subcategories. Loving Jesus was one of the biggest things, but another stand out was regarding emotions and being open and able to express how I’m really feeling. That was another big thing, but a stand-alone, whilst loving Jesus has many facets. (Is this making sense?)
And in 2016, one of the big things was stepping out in a lot of different areas, such as being open, being vulnerable, choosing to put myself out there, learning to stand out and stand up, in speaking.
I’ve been thinking/journaling/praying about 2018 and just resting in ideas for the year. And something that I feel compelled to, maybe not as the overarching theme of my year, but at least an important subcategory, is looking into the story of Mary and Martha. I think because in this year I’ve learnt so much about Jesus, in 2018 I’ll be able to look at myself more in the way that Jesus sees me. And in this, really dig into Mary and Martha and where I fit into that and how Jesus wants me to be acting.
The whole ‘theme for the year thing’ sounds relatively flimsy, I admit, and I hope you realise I don’t do it in a way of boxing God in or saying that He can only work within this frame. It’s just a helpful way for me to reflect throughout the year and at the end of the year, and a way for me to focus in January on something God-related instead of losing momentum in my relationship with God. I try to hear from God and ask how He wants me to go about it. For me, it’s just a way that God can show me throughout the year how much He is working in my life.
If God hadn’t shown me all of that ‘loving Jesus’ stuff, I wouldn’t have realised how far I’ve come in my relationship with Him, or the purpose of some of the hard times I went through last year. But because I was able to journal through it and ask Jesus what was going on throughout the year, I could connect dots and see where Jesus has been working in my heart and transforming me.
In January, I plan on doing a Daniel fast. Again, it’s just a way for me to hear from God and seek direction. I don’t want to become comfortable in where I am, I want to be continually digging deeper and moving forward with God. And by having ‘themes’, I’m able to be continually asking God to search my heart and bring things up, and then see what He’s done instead of feeling stagnant.
Well, it’s time for this camper to go to bed.
P.S. I just realised I can do this.