Maybe you’ve seen it too, but this week, a rapidly spreading meme caught my attention and made me chuckle.
“No one claim 2021 as your year,” it says. “We’re going to step in real quietly. Don’t make any noise. Don’t. Touch. Anything.”
I laughed and shared it with a few friends. But, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it… and about how just maybe it’s how we should approach the new year after all, even if for a slightly different sentiment.
How many times in life do we claim something up ahead as our own? We make resolutions. We think of things that would make us happier going forward, or things that would make us “better” according to whatever standard of measure we happen to be applying to our lives at a given time.
Of course we all know what comes next: we fall short. We let ourselves down, we don’t hold up our end of the bargain – not as long as we hoped to at least – and we feel “less than.” Soon enough, we either brush it off, or double down, only to start the cycle of “improvement” time and time again, with alternating highs and lows.
Here’s the thing though: throughout this process, we’re – generally – focused on one thing underneath all the great intentions (and don’t get me wrong, they can be great!): ourselves.
We may commit to doing things for others. To improving our attitudes. To giving more. Or, to the more obvious and common initiatives – eating better, losing weight, showing up at the gym more. Of course it varies from one of us to the other – and believe me, I am just as committed to these resolutions as any of us in most years.
But, our motivation generally involves around finding more success, looking better from the outside, or making ourselves happier. That is, in most cases, what we’ve been programmed for our whole lives anyway. “Chase your dreams,” the world says (and by golly, chasing can be fun and fulfilling)… and so, we do it. We claim years and run full speed until we burn out – or, in the case of this year, until a year throws something at us akin to a giant curveball that we could have never seen coming, “hey 2020!”
Maybe stepping into 2021 quietly really could be a great approach… but not resolved for nothing or without any goals. Perhaps, with a reframing of those goals and dreams and hopes.
What if this year, we looked “up” instead of “in?”
What if we – before setting any giant intentions or goals – asked God to show us what he would have for us in this upcoming year? How he would have us proceed? What paths he may send us on? How we could better serve him and the goals and purposes he has for our lives?
To be quite clear: I’m not saying that setting intentions that revolve around our health or our relationships are bad, or unworthy. Instead, I’m saying that this year we might just be called to something deeper. Something that could allow purposes that we can’t even see for ourselves to come to light, allowing us to chase a plan better than we could have ever created for our own lives leading to true fulfillment, fulfillment that can only come from our creator, our father in heaven who loves us and knows our desires before they even come to be in our own hearts.
What if we dwelled on Ephesians 2:10 before jumping into 2021 like have other years: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Think of the implications!
God has works planned for our lives. He has a plan for us. He is the ordainer of plans and works and dreams that are greater than we could ever imagine. What hope we have!
As we wind down this truly unprecedented year and look forward. What if we first asked God to search our hearts, and to allow our wills to align with his? What if we asked him to guide our dreams and plans for the new year?
I’m willing to bet we’d have fewer broken resolutions, less heart break, and more fulfillment than any of the years passed… and that our experiences would be greater than anything this new year could throw our way. Experiences anchored in eternity: what a promise!
How could you reframe your resolutions for 2021? In what ways could you ask God to take the lead going into this new year? What could “stepping in quietly” mean for your life over the next few months?