I'm not much for New Year's resolutions, but each year I choose some character trait, quality, or practice to focus on for the year. I've done this now for almost 20 years believe it or not and I've focused on such things as love, hope, Bible reading, integrity, honesty...it's a long list. 2014 was a year dedicated to prayer.
Let me begin by saying that 2014 was a hell of a year. I suppose prayer was a good thing to choose knowing how difficult the year proved. It was a year filled with struggle and heartbreak, trials and tribulations, disappointments and many many tears. It certainly holds as a top contender for hardest year ever. I was not sad to see 2014 walk out of my life forever.
If there is one thing I have learned this past year, its that when tribulations come, it is easy to find yourself on your knees crying out to God. This was not the picture I had in mind last January. I anticipated a year of waking up a little earlier to commune with the Creator - listening and contemplating. I was not prepared for the long hard ride.
I was reminded of some Truths over the past 12 months. God is always with me; I am not alone. God is more powerful than any circumstance I am drowning in. God knows how all the puzzle pieces of life fit together. I do not, and that's okay. I can trust that He is in control. I am surrounded by amazing people that love and support me (A special shout out and thanks to the members of my small group who sat next to me so patiently as I often cried myself through our weekly study - they are truly a blessing from God and very dear to my heart).
I also became more intentional with my prayers - see my "7 Sacred Pauses" post for more. I began reading how people prayed in the Bible and mimicking many of those prayers - specifically the persistent widow. Part of me is still in that phase of not relenting - asking God over and over and hoping that my persistence pays off. I have always been so impressed of people that have prayed for someone or something for years and years and years. I often wonder how they continue without losing hope...which leads me to 2015.
As I contemplated what to concentrate on this year, the verse that
kept coming to mind was Mark 9:24. The verse reads, "...I believe; help
me overcome my unbelief!" The context is a story of a father bringing
his tortured son to Jesus for healing. The father says "If you can do anything to help him, take pity on us..." And Jesus responds, "If you can?! Everything is possible for one who believes."
I have entered 2015 hopeful that it is going to be a good year. Hope is a terrifying thing for a realist/pessimist. I know I know - all you optimists out there don't understand, but it's true. So maybe my theme for the year is a bit ambiguous. How does hope relate to "I believe, help my unbelief"? I'm anticipating a year of God revealing Himself to me in new and exciting ways. I am focusing on faithfully believing in God's power and promises and humbly asking for aid to overcome my unbelief.
Tell me, what are you searching for in 2015?