Fireworks explode outside my back window as the East Coast rings in the New Year. So much hope and anticipation as we look forward to the next 365 days!!!!
My husband and I have this tradition. Every year, we give each other a new Planner for Christmas and some time around New Year’s we sit down over steaming cups of Cappuccino (him) and hot chocolate (me) and plan out our year. Vacations we hope to go on, goals we hope to accomplish, milestones in the lives of our children, and resolutions to improve our health and quality of life, all get written in this book. Hoping. Dreaming. Praying for a life well lived and bent to the will of God in the New Year.
But I must be honest. I have, in the past, been found bent over by the weight of fear and the New Year seems to bring it out in me. Fear lurks in the deepest recesses of my heart and, if left unchecked, it oozes out, swallowing up the joy and peace from my very soul.
I remember the days I gave in to the fear. And they were many. The earliest one I recall I see my twelve year old self at home alone with my fourteen year old sister and my 8 year old brother. Both of them already asleep. My parents were thirty minutes away at our church for Choir practice. They should have been home by now and I should be sleeping. I slide the covers up tighter under my chin, my eyes staring straight in to the dark night. I watch the clock and calculate what time Choir was over and how long it takes them to drive home. Surely they have had an accident. Surely tonight is the night they are not coming home. I listen to every sound on those country roads and pray the next car will be my parent’s. Finally, I hear the sound of gravel crunching and the car door slam shut as my parents arrive home safe and sound. I exhale and silently thank God that tonight is not the night I face my own homemade nightmare.
Fear is exhausting. It takes a lot of work to stoke that fire. It uses every ounce of your imagination and strength. As fear increases, your faith is squelched. Fear and faith cannot co-mingle. We give in to either one or the other.
We all have our own struggles strapped to our backs. This is mine. Fear! I acknowledge it. I recognize it. I name it! But I do not give in to it. I do not buckle underneath it. And with the help of my Lord and Savior, I am no longer paralyzed by it.
So when the close of December 2013 brings with it thoughts of catastrophe in the New Year, and I wonder if this year will hold the day that knocks my feet out from under me, I stop what I am doing and ask the Lord to squelch this fear that can so easily overwhelm me. I look to the One who holds my every day in His hands.
I rest in what I know to be true….”what a heart knows by heart is what a heart knows. And what the heart knows by heart is all that can calm the heart. Direct the heart. Strengthen the heart.”** And so I memorize Scripture so that the Word’s of our God pour out of my heart when fear attacks.
I count blessings. I make a list and thank God for that list and a shift of thought occurs that shakes off the fear and covers me in a blanket of peace that passes all understanding.
I open my hands and give my most precious ones to the One I can completely trust.
What has been strapped to your back for far to long? 2014 is the Year. The year to shake it off and allow Jesus Christ to carry it for you. Now that is a resolution worth the effort!!!