After a year of uncertainty, many of us have mixed feelings about 2021. It's easy to be wary after everything we went through in 2020. Yet, I still see 2021 as full of potential. Sure, things may not be "back to normal" yet—and it's hard not knowing when they will be—but there's still so much positive waiting to be found in this current moment.
As I look ahead to 2021, I've set three goals that will help me make the best of this year.
1. Pray big & worry small.
Sometimes I can be a worrier. Can you relate? When I face challenges that look insurmountable, I feel this fear creep up inside. That definitely happened once or twice in 2020. It’s all too easy to give in to that uncertainty and doubt what the future holds, especially now.
But we serve an amazing God! Nothing we could ever ask for would be out of His reach. After all, He rightfully says:
For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.
Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?
God longs to have us pray to Him boldly, to give Him permission to do what He’s been waiting to do in our lives. This year, I want to give God every possible opportunity to work in my life.
I’m going to give my worries less attention, knowing that my all-powerful God lends ear to my prayers!
2. Slow down.
Have you ever felt like 24 hours isn’t enough to get everything done? With so much to do, it can be pretty easy to focus on a never-ending to-do list. I know it is for me. But God calls us to a more abundant life than one that’s constantly on the go. A life of abundant peace and joy isn’t a life of always doing—it’s a life of constantly abiding. Abiding in the true source of that peace and joy. Even when anxiety is urging us to keep moving, to take our lives into our own hands, God is inviting us to be still in Him.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
According to the apostle Paul, who is going to complete the work in us? That's something God has promised to do! I like to remind myself that God never called me to complete a job He started; that’s not what He needs from me. Instead, He’s just asking that I have the courage and faith to sit while He works, letting Him complete the work He’s doing in me.
3. Approach decisions differently.
Even when we make carefully calculated decisions, it’s easy to follow the wrong path. A list of pros and cons isn’t enough. The only thing that can ensure we’re on the right path is allowing God to guide our decisions and point out what’s right. But first, we must seek His input.
In this podcast, Christian author Pete Scazzero recalls Abraham and Sarah’s experience with Ishmael. When they didn’t see the immediate answer to their prayers, at least not in the way they were looking for, they immediately chose to solve their problems their own way. Scazzero outlines the following four questions we should ask when facing any important decision to avoid an Ishmael situation in our own lives:
- Am I afraid to ask God what His will is in this situation?
- Am I uncomfortable exploring my hidden motivations?
- Am I avoiding getting counsel from mature others in case they disagree with me?
- Am I too busy and distracted to listen to the voice of God?
I pray God will draw ever nearer to me this year as I seek Him first in every decision I make.