My Christmas guests have left. The boys are running errands with dad and I am undressing the tree and packaging our sweet nativity sets away for the next 11 months. These are my first quiet moments in weeks, with only the familiar holiday crinkling of tissue paper and jingle bells jingling as the soundtrack to my thoughts. During the hustle and bustle of guests and going, little space remained for this sort of pondering. But today, here in the quiet, I have 2015 on my mind; looking forward to new resolutions, friendships, hopes, the transformation I'd like to see in my own heart and behavior, and in the hearts and actions of my children.
"As you wait attentively in my Presence, the Light of the knowledge of My Glory shines upon you. This radiant knowledge transcends all understanding. It transforms every fiber of your being: renewing your mind, cleansing your heart, invigorating your body. Open yourself fully to my Presence; be awed by My glorious Being." (Jesus Calling, December 25)
Here in the stillness of my home this morning I picked up the gift my father-in-law sent me this Christmas, Sarah Young's Jesus Calling, and read those words. Then I read them again and thought, God's Presence is where transformation happens.
"Resolution" is a word too small for those of us who crave true transformation. Resolutions only encapsulate habits, tricked behaviors, a list of goals that may or may not last. Resolutions take the muscle we bring and require work each day. But my resolve each New Year rarely includes the holy waiting that penetrates hearts and leads to lasting change.
No, I don't want a New Year's Resolution this year. The word came clear as I carefully wrapped each fragile keepsake: I don't need another Resolution... I need a Revolution, way down deep in my fibers.
If you are contemplating resolutions in these last hours leading up to a New Year, might I suggest that "abiding daily in God's Presence" be top of your list? Because it "transforms every fiber of your being". And when each fiber is engaged, invigorated and renewed... there begins a Revolution, an uprising so powerful that transformation happens from the inside out!
Resolutions happen from the outside, and we hope they make their way in. Trips to the gyms, letters to friends, date nights with the man you exchanged your vows with , nightly stretching, and no more chocolate cake for breakfast (not that there's anything wrong with an occasional cake for breakfast!)
But you and me, we don't want to just change our habits, we're wanting to be made new in 2015, completely new in the new year. And the desire for New is rising up from within, and so all those resolutions that will change our actions seems so small.
A revolution is explosive, bringing life from the thump-thump-thump of your tender heart. All pent up from years of not doing it right - not thinking or behaving right - not having it done right to you, maybe for generations. And you rise up now, lift your banner high, and cry, "NO MORE!" Lke a country who has known oppression, threatening revolution. You are ready to fight for freedom.
The anger, the impatience, the hurtful rash words, the heavy sighs and lack of tenderness, the deep wounds... every bit of you, every fiber of your being, transformed. Every corner of your home, every nighttime stressful conversation with your husband that ends worse than better, every sibling squabble that turns unkind. Every negative word you berate yourself with.
No amount of Resolve can change you. I'm sorry. But this isn't hopeless, this is real hope. Because this is entirely what He can do in your life, when you bring all the sin tendencies and hurting places of your heart to the Creator of the Universe, the Creator of your innermost being.
"If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you." John 15:7
Tomorrow is a New Year, and we're wishing and hoping and making our plans. But it starts here, right here. Abiding, remaining, tucking in deep to the folds of His robes, deep into the pages where His truth dwells active and waiting.
You want to be transformed? Here's where it happens: Abide in Him, He will abide in you, and there will be radical, real-life change in your life in the year ahead.
Resolve this year to do your part, planting the seeds of faith, turning the soil of your heart to the sun, that the Son might penetrate and cultivate and reap a harvest. But also learn to wait attentively, for the miracle Revolution He's stirring up. Anticipate. Abide and Anticipate and do not grow weary. Let His Light shine upon your innermost thoughts and emotions as you abide. Make abiding your chief concern in 2015. Each fiber is about to get reworked, renewed, invigorated, transformed, awakened to the real life giving Presence of a loving God.