A much younger me studied the face that stared back from the mirror.
Outside of the bathroom, where I’d taken refuge, a squalling hurricane had erupted. My toddler daughter banged her fist on the door and screamed in an epic meltdown. And with a deep breath, I looked into my own troubled eyes.
“Who is in charge here?” I asked aloud to my reflection. It was in that bathroom, self-pep-talk, away from the gale, that I regained the strength to retake the battle and open the door.
It was somewhat like the beginning of a New Year.
An open planner on my desk beckons. A blank year invites me to start filling it up.
Scribbled dates begin their trek across the pages. Big events, birthdays, goals, and good intentions pour over the lines and spaces.
And when I sit back and look at the no-longer empty calendar months, an anxious knot twists inside me.
My planner is needed and helpful, or I will forget important dates. I will lose my way without its accountability and reminders. I will miss things, and not accomplish all I could or should without it.
“If you aim at nothing you are bound to hit it,” my college prof said.
But today, all the aiming high, dreaming and planning, suddenly feels…overwhelming. I recognize, like a once-young-mom cowering in a bathroom, prayer must be central to any and every plan or purpose.
In the space between the old December 31, 2023, and the new January 1, 2024, no switch flips. I will not become equipped to truly change my course in life, to meet its challenges. Contrary to popular persuasion, I can’t do it.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV)
Although these words were given to Jeremiah and the Jewish people in a certain context, regarding a specific time and place, God’s character has not altered. He declared Himself then as the One Who Plans, and He still is and He still does. His plans are not random, capricious or wrong. He knows what is best, molds and shapes time for His purpose. He never says, “I didn’t see that coming.”God’s plans are not random, capricious or wrong. He knows what is best, molds and shapes time for His purpose. Click To Tweet
God is the ultimate controller of the minutes and hours which lie ahead in the birth of a new year. My plans must be laid in humble submission at the altar of God’s will and Sovereignty, and in so doing establish His plans first.
My new planner isn’t really pretty. But, I was won over by the five words on its plain front, “For I know the plans,” from Jeremiah 29:11. Those plans supersede all of my own written across its pages. They lay a foundation for what lies ahead in 2024.
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. (James 4:13-14 NKJV)
I have lots of plans for 2024, projects, goals, and aspirations. You probably do too. However, they quickly grow empty and self-focused unless God is in the center. Unless He directs each step.
There will be happy and sad, difficult and victorious, rough and smooth roads in the next year. The resolutions made might turn into disaster and disappointment, or you may find success beyond your best dreams. A new year may provide the very shift, kick, or new leaf you need for change. Maybe.
My plans must be laid in humble submission at the altar of God’s will and Sovereignty, and in so doing establish His plans first. Click To TweetBut assuredly, the finish line of one year, and the beginning of another invites us to take time to pray and seek God’s direction, to look beyond reformation to transformation. It gives opportunity to pause and consider, to open the door to what God desires.
As we peer into 2024 may we embrace the hope that comes from knowing Who is truly in charge.