I am still gawking at the subject of this post.
My six-year-old counts down the days to Christmas on his Mickey Mouse calendar and declares it will take “for-e-ver. I’m wondering what happened to this year.
While the snow falls softly outside my window and creates a soft reflection for the white and red lights, I sit here and listen to my kids singing carols in the next room. It’s all going too fast. I wish I could grab the moments and slow them down just a little.
I entered 2017 with grand expectations and a list of goals. Some were accomplished, others were not even on my radar, and a few were deferred for a coming season. The more I walk through this life, the more I learn that my timeline and God’s are not always the same.
Where we see a checklist, God sees an entire life song.
He sees the beautiful melody being created and the notes that are yet to be played. He sees the person we’re each becoming. And while we may think we’re ready for the next stanza, he knows there are still notes in-between to be played. There’s still a bridge that needs to be crossed.
Those bridges are often lessons. Each day, I’m growing, but I have to remember to take stock and notice. Otherwise, I’m bound to repeat the same steps over and over.
Here are three lessons I learned in 2017. And I know if I remember them, they will equip me for what God has in store in 2018.
#1…I don’t have to fight for God’s attention. It’s already mine.
At the onset of this year, I realized I was fighting for a seat that was already mine. Not only that, this attitude was filtering into other relationships as well. This realization is one of the reasons why the word I chose for 2017 was “loved.” I wanted to live it. I wanted to embrace it. Because when I live loved instead of fighting for love, I embody the joy and security Christ wants for me.
“And God raised us up and seated us in the heavenly realms with Christ Jesus…”
Ephesians 2:6 NIV
#2…God’s gifts to me are irrevocable.
I’d heard this verse. (Romans 11:29) I’d shared memes of it and even written a post about it. But this year I actually believed it. I saw that taking time to focus on my family and adjust to having a new little one at home didn’t mean I was never going to get to write again. It didn’t mean I would never get a book deal or be invited to participate in fun projects. In fact, opportunities that I wasn’t even pursuing fell into my lap. Because we serve a good, good Father who knows our needs and heart’s desires.
#3…Time spent loving others is never wasted.
I’m not going to look back on my life and say, “I wish I’d spend less time playing with my baby girl.” Or, “I wish I hadn’t called that person to have coffee.” Yes, people may hurt us. We may have some hard, awkward conversations and others may see that we’re not perfect. To love is to be vulnerable. But I’m convinced that we’re never more like Jesus than when we love others well. When we invest our time in authentic relationships and let others know how much we care, his name is glorified.
I know I’ll need reminders of each of these lessons in 2018. It’s easy to fall into old patterns and do what’s comfortable, isn’t it? Like following fresh tracks in snow, we crave the familiar.
But Jesus beckons us to something new. To something greater and more spectacular. Like the Christmas lights flickering outside my window, his voice is steady and constant.
“Come with me.”
Congratulations, Martha! You are the winner of a copy of the recently released book, Talking to Jesus. Thank you for reading and I will be in touch with you regarding your gift.
Rebecca L Jones says
Agreed, I struggled to get what was mine. Now, I can rest in the beloved.
Lisa Appelo says
What a list. I’m not sure which is my favorite because they are all priceless lessons. What a year, Abby, in so many ways!
Betsy de Cruz says
What beautiful lessons, Abby. I also need to remember that God has a different timeline than my own. I just might have to choose the word “loved” for 2018. Would that be okay? (Still might choose “Jesus” again.)
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
What good takeaways from the year. I have really learned that my timeline is definitely not God’s and sometimes when I simply let go of striving, that’s when God’s blessings flow the easiest. So glad you are enjoying your precious little ones. They sure don’t stay little for long. Enjoy and savor.