Happy new year, my friends.
It's a joy to be back in this space, putting thoughts together that have been stirring in my heart for the last month. I don't know what the end of your 2018 looked like, but mine was very intentional—and somewhat messy. Intentionally messy. Of course, I am always in awe and filled with excitement through the holiday season, so there was everything to enjoy and soak in as a young family of 3—and enjoy it, we did!
But there was an underlying work happening in my heart that was moving me beyond the normal rhythms of the holidays. The previous year had been a year of a lot of deep heart work, and I was ready to step into vulnerable moments and let that deep work start to play out in some of my close relationships. The Lord seemed to say, you cannot carry these things into your new year with me. And so I was ready to lay some things to rest that I might have a new perspective and unhindered start to my new year.
Though thinking about new beginnings in the new year can feel cliche, it was the first time that I have eagerly awaited the new year in this way.
All of my excitement and readiness came to a screeching halt, however, when our almost-2-year-old literally stopped sleeping for 4 weeks. I was immediately thrown back to the days of waking up every other hour with a newborn baby, and the effects (or torture, some would say) of true sleep deprivation began to affect every area of my life. My energy, my productivity, my reactions, my desire to want to be with people, my long list of January hopes. I felt like I was becoming someone even I wouldn't enjoy sitting with.
Instead of looking ahead with great expectations, I was stuck in the disappointment of my reality.
I was frustrated with this unexpected situation, but I became even more frustrated with and disappointed in myself. I was supposed to hit the ground running in the new year! I was supposed to begin the year full of patience and energy and unhindered joy. I had done the difficult and hopeful work to lay some things to rest, and yet here I was, feeling like both my eyes got punched every morning, unable to find my own rest and unable to accomplish much of anything.
In the surprise and inconsistency of my situation, I was reminded that the Lord is stable and sure. That He is full of grace and patience when mine felt fully depleted. That He hadn't placed all the new year expectations on me...only I had placed those on myself.
What He had asked of me was to leave some things behind so that I might have a renewed perspective and more space for Him.
Maybe the start to your new year quickly turned into a mess like mine did, or maybe you have already broken new vows you made to the Lord or let yourself down in some way. Maybe you are already feeling layered with guilt upon guilt for falling short.
Will you do something with me?
Think about that area of guilt. Ask yourself and the Lord where that guilt is coming from, and what it is causing you to believe about yourself and the Lord. Then speak or write this prayer with your own situation in mind:
Father, thank you for the grace that you already had waiting for me. Thank you that your lovingkindness is a covering for my harsh or impatient thoughts toward myself. Thank you for loving me and being near to me. I ask that you hold this guilt and disappointment, and relieve me of that burden I'm not meant to carry. Replace those things with what is good and pure and true. I trust you with my future. Amen.
I'm excited to worship with you all this weekend, and I look forward to even greater things this year...
and maybe some occasional sleep.
Thanks for reading,