Oak Tree on snowy Fields at Sunset

And so 2013 is upon us, friends.

I love the promise of a new year. The excitement that stands before us, beckoning us to change and just “get better already.” The club we’ll get to join when January 1 rolls across the calendar.

The answers to riddles. The knowledge of secrets. The year in which we finally get our “stuff” together.

I admit that I’m still a sucker for a new year—much like I’m still a sucker for the start of a new school year in August. I covet the sharp Ticonderoga pencils and the fresh, creaseless notebooks. I adore the rush that surrounds the buzz of mystery permeating the expectations of a new classroom still unlearned.

The new calendar year is much the same and yet the expectations can perch upon my shoulder like a judgmental ninny, tsking her finger at what I don’t do instead of what I do.

Maybe you don’t have this issue. Maybe you are far easier on yourself than I am and you silence the false voices that fight for your attention. I hope you are and you do.

But I have to say that through the very informal polls of my own circle of women, I don’t think I’m alone.

We’re presented with ways we can improve—meals that can go in the freezer, floors that can be swept by a robot, and ways to tame picky eaters and children with attention deficit.

And yet sometimes I think  the best new thing we can do for the new year is to just keep doing what we’re doing.

Instead of looking at what we SHOULD be doing (and again, sisters, you all know how much I hate the wretched word “should”) can we look at what we ARE doing?

I’m a girl who’s spent much of 39 years looking at what I don’t have versus what I do.

And what I want to decline is more pressure to fit into a demographic I won’t ever be able to comfortably fit into anyway.

Yes, I still choose a “one word” that I’ll share later this week.

And yes, I still love the promise of a new year.

Of course, I think we should not forget to look at ways to improve who we are.

 But let me stop spinning my wheels and get right with Him before I try to do it myself.

Oftentimes, new year’s resolutions are focused on our own strength instead of His.

We write down our goals and get to work on those ten pounds or only eat fruit and vegetables two days a week.

So often I’ve failed to ask Him what He desires for me for the upcoming year. After all, He knows what’s going to happen in my world and I have no idea—yet I continue to operate as if I steer my own ship and know what I need better than He knows what I need.

I’m guilty of “OK, God. I think I need to work on _______.  You think so, too?  Great. Thanks.”

I don’t ask Him. I tell.

Three years ago, I was introduced to the concept of selecting one word to focus upon instead of making resolutions.

This one word would be the umbrella that supported the spokes of the upcoming year. It doesn’t mean that we close the umbrella from last year when the year is complete; it just means that we have been led to a certain word or phrase because He knows the plan.

So your “new thing” doesn’t have to be drastic. In fact, it’s so often the very small changes that add up to make the big.

Perhaps you keep doing what you’re doing but you wear a new lens.

It’s been in praying over these words that I’ve discovered that, get this—He really does have some thing He’d like to teach me.

I challenge you to seek Him first. Ask Him what He wants for you this year.

Then listen to what He has to say.

This may take a few days. Maybe even a few weeks.

Don’t let the fact that January 1 is tomorrow make you select something out of haste.

Slow down and listen. He’ll talk. You’ll hear.

You’ll focus and draw near.

Join me on Wednesday and I’ll reveal my new word for 2013?  I would love to hear yours as well if you already know what it is.


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