Each new year brings a new slate. We say it, hope it, believe it. Yet circumstances can be like well worn ruts that well-intentioned resolutions simply can't wish us out of. Family dynamics, parenting pitfalls, unhealthy habits - they don't change because the clock strikes midnight.
There's no magic there. Still we hope. We kiss and clap and make noise like a victory's been won, but it's still you and me waking up the next morning, groggy.
I know it down deep that nothing's going to change in my heart and home in 2016 because of one magical resolution.
Instead, here's what I'm learning: change isn't starting over, it's moving forward from one day to the next. One day that crosses us over into a new year.
True change embraces the reality of today and the good already woven into the heart, home, and heavenly blessings that are ours. Today. Right where we are. Here with our people, flawed as we all are.
Change comes in embracing what has already begun. Change doesn't undo the step we're on, the day that's passed, to make it better.
Though there's still a heap of growing up to do, I don't want to stop being me at last year's end in order to be entirely a different brand of me, albeit better. I just want to keep on keeping on in my pursuit of Christ and who I am in Him - day by day and step by step.
But the questions is: how do I want these steps to look, as I stride and stretch into this new year?
This year I've chosen a word to represent my hopes and dreams that may seem external, but can only be accomplished by the fire-starting Holy Spirit stirring things up from within.
My one word for 2016 is SHINE.
My overarching hope for this next circle around the sun, is that I too would revolve around the Son. Ever focused, ever facing, ever fettered to the One whose Light penetrated my darkness so completely that I'll live for all eternity in the Kingdom of Light.
[Tweet "Let's testify to His light shining in, by the way He's shining out of us. "]
Of course it's hard, all of it, in light of today's body politic, terror causing aching hearts around the globe, the whispers of self-loathing pressing in, the hard work of parenting, the prowling one who seeks to destroy the light of the World which managed like a miracle to take up residency in me. It's hard to muscle through and SHINE in my own battery-powered might. So, again I say, I'm fixing' to cling and to sing in the year ahead. Cling to The Light of the World, because there can't be shining without abiding. Which, ironically, or not so much, was my word for 2015. Yes, it makes sense that after a year of abiding I'm hell-bent on shining. Because that's the fruit that's promised. Right where I am, who I am, with whom I am... shining. Stretching more into me, with the ones I love, right where we live. Shining in the simple everyday-ness of it all.
And from there out into the world.
I screwed up a lot in 2015. Made lots of mistakes, needed great gobs of grace, extended it too. And I'm ready like the rest of you for a new year.
But it's so good for me to remember that God doesn't want to trash the learning and the growing, and the family life that's been lived here in our homes to start all over again - with a new devotional, new diet, new workout plan, new chore charts and character building memory verses for my kids. He wants to build upon last year and the year before. And more importantly, He's building upon the foundation, the rock Himself, in our lives - your life, my life. The foundation has already laid through faith. And more so in 2015 then ever. I've been laid down in 2015, but I've been built up too; a perpetually His laid down, built up woman. His. Abiding. Woman.
He doesn't want to start again in me because I've been a woman who's failed. He wants to keep me going growing - abiding and shining - because I've been a woman who's failed and found grace. That's right, he's been growing me from December 31st into January 1st, and there are 365 days of refining sunlight ahead. And some of it's going to hurt, as His Light continues to burn the dross right out of me. But that heat, that face to face abiding sunlight is going to not only shine into me this year, it's going to shine out too!
So it's simply this, my friends. SHINE. Abide and Shine.
And once you have done everything to shine, keep shining. Not by your own shiny might, but by His Light shining power and presence! Reflecting like holy Shekinah glory.
May 2016 be the year we face Him perpetually, like a full moon, full-faced, full-on, nothing between Him and us. Soaking Him up and reflecting Him back. Soaking Him up, and then lighting up our little slices of the earth. Reflecting Him, shining His Light upon the ones we love and live with, and out into the world.
2016 - Here's to abiding, that we might SHINE.
Happy New Year.