December is a contradictory month. As followers of Jesus, we try hard to make our lives revolve around Him, amid the inevitable flurry of shopping, cookie decorating, and family gatherings that Christmas brings. We prepare our hearts, make room for hope, and stand in awe of the magnitude of Love born in a cold, musty stable. With a heightened awareness of His presence, we are reminded yet again that what our soul really needs is found in peace, worship, waiting, dependency… Jesus. He is the one through which we move, breath, and have our being. He is life itself. Our life revolves around Him.
Then the last week in December and the first few weeks in January roll around, and suddenly we feel the need to attack the New Year, leave behind our sacred expectation for a Savior, and stifle our desire to listen and linger in His presence.
It’s funny how the turning of another calendar year turns our eyes to ambitious resolutions, our mouths to lofty goal-setting lingo, and our hearts into the steady rush of the world around us that says things like
In the name of more and better (even if it’s just a little bit), Jesus feels pushed out to the peripheral corners of our life. Doesn’t He want me to dream, be successful, achieve great things, and improve myself?
It’s all for His glory, we reassure our weary heart.
Not wanting to fall behind, feel lazy, or lose out on the opportunity to better our lives, we determine to do the impossible, and devote ourselves to making this New Year the best, all the while forgetting we are already a New Creation.
Throughout my school years, I remember desperately trying to fit in with the popular crowd. I wanted to have the jacket, the shoes, the talk, the smile, the bag, the friends, the hair, the skin… but I never did. The latest styles were often too expensive. I was too reserved to have the flair needed to be the life of the party. I didn’t have the attitude or appearance that made my peers turn their heads.
I consistently felt invisible, left behind, like I couldn’t keep up with everyone else.
Around this time of year those feelings come back in full force.
Do you feel it too? The added pressure to be somebody, to grow a successful business, to build a flourishing community of friends, to start new projects, and to be the best, healthiest, happiest version of ourselves we can be.
We see and hear about everyone’s ambitious goals, well-disciplined and neatly organized lives. We sense the confidence and excitement of other women who are ready to make things happen in the New Year. We also want to dream big and do the impossible along with them.
This year will be the year I stop doing this and start doing that…finally, we whisper to ourselves.
We determine to have the go-getter attitude. The positive, upbeat spirit. The flawless appearance. The trendy blog or the beautiful products. The ceaseless smile and contagious joy. On top of all that we desire a selfless love and generous heart that brightens the world around us. We will make people’s heads turn.
We conjure up all the ways we will be that person. We proclaim the changes we will make. We don’t openly admit it, but maybe this year we will get noticed, applauded, our accomplishments and appearances shining bright for all to see.
Mixing Jesus’ desire to give us fullness of life with a culture that is constantly striving and disgruntled with who they are what they have, we set forth to accomplish our ambitious plans for the New Year ahead.
Analyzing, plotting, preparing, and detailing it all on our paper, we map out how we will keep up, not get left in the dust of our own failures and shortcomings, and eventually have the fulfilling, satisfying life we are dreaming about.
The problem is this…
We sometimes forget Jesus.
Part 2 is here– a simple way I’m remembering to keep Jesus front and center in my life, how it’s changing the way I think about this year, and some practical ideas for you to do 2017 with Jesus, putting our focus on Him instead of who we hope to be (or what we want to achieve!) Read part two here.
Check out the Art of Adventure Shop, where I’ve created a few things to encourage us to make our lives a beautiful adventure with Jesus! The new hand-painted 2017 adventure calendar is on sale for $8 as is the 40 days of love letters journal!