We are 18 days into the new year and the new decade. For me personally, it’s been a long but fast 18 days. 18 days of intense work, engaging in activity both serious and light, but at the end of it, has already reminded me that no matter how deliberate I can be in setting goals and hoping for my best foot forward at all times, it is extremely hard to maintain the stamina needed to live up to our hopes and expectations we set for ourselves. At 18 days in, perhaps this might be the point when that feeling is beginning to settle-in for you as well. The feeling of: Our plans and hopes are likely to be a bit harder to achieve than we envisioned; that the subtle fear of the future begins to sing its tune; our sense of loneliness or isolation is more real than we might want to admit.
Problems in 2020
Entering into a new year has a way of invigorating a sense of excitement and a kind hopefulness where we say to ourselves that maybe this time we can finally take control of our lives and live the way we want to live. But as that feeling fades and the realities of life’s daily difficulties pop-up in their regular timing, our invigoration wanes and we are discouraged, depressed, angry, feeling unsure about ourselves and insecure about the future. What are we to do? We have over 350 days left to make the difference we couldn’t make last year, and if we are already discouraged then what will 2020 really be like.
Hope for 2020
Thankfully there is an answer. But the answer is not in us or what we set out to achieve or strategically plan to accomplish. Rather, the answer is in a person…Jesus. Jesus, too, had moments of isolation [Read Matthew 27: 45-46], serious confrontations with temptations to “have it all” [Read Matthew 4:1-11] or that feeling of wanting things to be different [Read Matthew 26:36-39]. Yet, when we look closer at the life of Jesus, we discover somthing very striking: Obedience to the Father was always better than anything this life could offer or anything we could have or want on earth.
Counsel for 2020
The difference maker for 2020 isn’t in our plans, goals or objectives, those “objects” of our ambitions and hopes; rather, the difference maker is a person, Jesus. Jesus is the better “object” of our ambitions and hopes. If you are already feeling that feeling that this year is going to be a long and hard year, here are three pieces of counsel I want to offer:
- Look to Jesus: Jesus is not a fad to try out. Jesus is a person to love and worship. Jesus knows exactly what you’re going through because he made you. He knows all of your weaknesses, your fears, doubts and insecurities. He know what makes you tic and he knows you better than you know yourself. Jesus wants to offer new life, a new vision for your “2020 year ahead” – a vision that will chart the course for many years to come.
- Read the Bible: The Bible is not a book of fables or mere stories, it is Jesus speaking to us, revealing himself to us. Jesus is the Word made flesh, and when we read the Word we are hearing directly from God. We all need help, guidance, counsel, instruction, teaching and a lesson to help us live and move forward in this life. The Bible is the best source of counsel we will ever find. Everything you need know about how to live despite all of our challenges is found in the words of Jesus.
- Serve God in a/your local church: The Church is not club or association, it is the Body of Christ, made up of millions of people who are are needy, broken, weak, prone to sin and unbelief and are also weary at 18 days into the new year. The Church is our best neighbor to befriend and to share our lives with. The Church is a place for coming together with other wayfarer strangers to serve one another in the same way Jesus served us when he died for us. Church service according the Bible is both nurturing to your soul, a helpful aid to your neighbor, and God-glorying deed offering a reward that will never perish, spoil or fade.
Let me encourage you to listen to this song, read the passages I noted above and reflect on the 2020 year ahead and ask you this – If you could have anything you wanted and have everything turn exactly as you think you needed, what is the core hope upon which all those wishes, ambitions, desires and longings rest?