Expectations

I’m hacking into the New Year. Struck down on Christmas Day with a cold and fever, and pushing through the fog ever since. From my sick bed, I watch the New Year roll into New York City. My fever doesn’t help with clarity, but I’ve never had a lot when it comes to bringing in a New Year. I watch the jubilation on faces, the passionate and the tentative kisses. I see the unfettered hope and excitement and I wonder, what makes the finish line of the old and the starting line of the new cause for such ecstatic celebration? I just don’t get it.

When the starting gun goes off, I wonder why am I still cowering at the starting line? Why does everyone take off jubilantly while I try to peer through the smoke to see where I’m going, to know what’s ahead before I take the first step? What is their hope? What is mine?

I remember the first year my parents let me stay up till the midnight hour. I watched the countdown on TV with my family and for lack of any other way to let out the effervescent pop inside me at the stroke of the New Year, I slugged my brother with a pillow. Not five minutes into the year and I already licked the wounds of discipline. “What a way to begin a New Year,” I chided my little self in the dark of my bedroom.

As 2015 gets closer, the crowd on TV shouts until fireworks explode. People dance and cheer, eager to face the future, yet I am pretty sure that tomorrow morning a lot of them will lie in a dark room with a headache, wondering how they could have already mucked up a squeaky clean new year.

Unmoored resolutions drift from original commitment and end up an unrecognizable seaweed mess of failed good intentions, like the tsunami debris that showed up on Hawaii’s shores three years after the natural disaster hit Japan.

“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet, indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish…”(Phil 3:7-8 NKJV)

Oh the fine line of throwing out the baby with the bath water and determining all of the goals and hopes matter nothing. The line is subtle between being and doing, between trusting in something rather than in Someone, to strive toward self-improvement and forget Christlikeness.

“…that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith…” (Phil 3:8-9)

My goals and objectives, as good and hopeful as they may seem, without the pure anchor of the Word, drift in a sea of self-improvement. Biblical hope with its purity and underserved grace is in a collision course with counterfeit striving for betterment, because real hope rests in certainity of a Person, the object of our faith.

“…That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death….”(Phil 3:10)

This year I want to thrash about a bit less, erase some of my lists of expectations, and rest in knowing Christ.