I love the New Year. There is something about letting the past year go and putting up a new calendar that gives me joy. It feels fresh and clean. And hopeful.
I think a lot of us had a rough 2017. Whether it was politics, or illness, or financial trouble or family problems – I saw and experienced a lot of pain. We are hurting, disillusioned, and lonely – not to mention afraid.
So I want to bring some hope into the New Year.
Romans 5:5 “And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
Why doesn’t hope disappoint? Because the hope in this passage is the confident expectation of God’s working for good – in us and in others. And you know the crazy thing? It starts with trials.
Here’s how The Message explains it, “We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!”
I love this. Suffering leads to passionate patience, which leads to strong virtue, which keeps us alert for God’s movement and blessings! Most of the women I know in this community have suffered enough to develop lots of patience and virtue, so here’s what he’s saying: use your virtue to watch for what God’s doing and you’ll never be disappointed – the Holy Spirit will give you more good than you can take in!
So how can we be open and watching for God’s working in the New Year? How can I feel some hope today?
Here are a few ideas, and I’d love to hear the ideas you have.
1) Give God an unsolvable problem and ask him to show you movement and hope in it this year, whether it’s direction that comes through you or someone else. Let it go, stay open and watching, and see what He does.
2) Make a list of the things you feel hopeful about and look back at it from time to time.
3) Find a bible verse or poem that makes you feel hopeful, expectant, or open and put it somewhere you will read it every day.
4) Take a step in a relationship or self-care you know you’ve been needing to do, and see what God does with it.
5) Just do something that feeds your soul- take a walk, write a prayer, read an uplifting book.
6) Bring something of beauty into your home or surroundings that will remind you to look out for God’s blessings.
My dearly loved friends, Happy New Year.