Living with Wonder and Wisdom
January 31st, 2023
Living with Wonder and Wisdom
Looking Back to Move Forward.
It’s a new year! We are officially in 2023. Are you excited or terrified? Ambivalent?
Every January, I spend some time preparing for the new year. My goal? I want to shake off the dust of my past and start fresh.
Everyone enters the new year differently.
Some of us are in full forward mode, and some tend to trod slowly into a new year, fully embracing it at the end of January.
I typically approach a new year the same way I approach my birthday. I approach it with cautious hesitancy and slight dread. Yep. That’s my pessimistic upbringing and natural tendencies shining through. Ha!
What does this look like? I remember my 30th birthday - my January birthday. My life was upside down. I was in the middle of a divorce, living in a friend's spare room on bunk beds with my 8-year-old daughter. I was sick as a dog, lying on the couch and feeling depressed and lost. This was not what 30, or a new year should look or feel like. I was miserable.
I overcame my illness but remembered the agonizing grief, hopelessness, and sadness of starting a new year. So to avoid that awful feeling again, I started a new habit.
In June, I’d practice thinking about the following year. I made a few little plans, but I practiced setting expectations for the upcoming year. In all honesty, I lowered expectations. I’d plan a vacation and to celebrate my daughter’s birthday or set my job expectations. Beyond that, I didn’t dream. I didn’t hope. That could only lead to disappointment and depression, right?
I called this ‘managing expectations.’ But I didn’t understand that I was allowing my past to dictate how I saw and imagined my future!
When I realized how much this jeopardized the future God had for me, the adventures I’d say no to out of a need to control my expectations, I started to evaluate my emotions about the new year and release those to God.
No matter what I felt about the upcoming year, I spoke it out loud and let Him speak into those emotions. Excitement? Anxiety? Fear and Trepidation? Joy? Grief? I recognized it all and let God sit with me and minister to my soul. Afterward, I felt relief, clarity, and an attitude of thankfulness and hope.
But really, I’m convinced the reason I don’t greet each new year with such disdain is because of the hope in Christ that I carry with me now.
According to Psalms, the truth that He knows every step past and future is incomprehensible.
Psalm 139:1-6 says, “Lord, you know everything there is to know about me. You perceive every movement of my heart and soul, and you understand my every thought before it even enters my mind. You are so intimately aware of me, Lord. You read my heart like an open book, and you know all the words I'm about to speak before I even start a sentence. You know every step I take before my journey begins. You've gone into my future to prepare the way, and in kindness you follow behind me to spare me from the harm of my past. This is just too wonderful, deep, and incomprehensible!”
This means God is always in close contact.
Verse five in the NIV says, “You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.” When He hems us in, it's not restrictive but comforting, close, and cozy. Think sleeping bag, down comforter type cozy.
And this is after God knows my past - all of it! Every mistake, every poor choice, the good and the bad. If He’s all in, no matter what, how can I not be?
When I consider His love, His work on the Cross, I step into a new sense of Awe and Wonder - for this year.
Whenever we focus on God instead of our situation, we enter into a state of Wonder.
We focus on…..
Our King, rather than our chaos
Our Savior rather than our situation
Our Miracle worker rather than our mess
Our Healer rather than our helplessness
Our Daddy instead of our dead ends.
I pull strength from the resurrection when I see my past through His eyes and look at Him in Wonder and Awe.
After reconciling myself to my past, I may struggle to move forward into the future He holds for me. As His daughter, I want to move forward in Wisdom.
Proverbs 8:32 says, “Now then, my children, listen to me. Blessed are those who keep my ways…For those who find me (wisdom) shall find life and receive favor from the Lord.”
This promises that when I seek His wisdom and keep His ways -which already exist in my heart through the Holy Spirit, I find life (can I add “to the fullest) and receive His FAVOR.
The proverbs provide the place where I can RUN for kingdom wisdom about everything.
Dealing with the corrupt systems of the world.
The self-control of our hearts and mouths
Diligence in our craft
Everything Under the Sun/Son….can be found here!
Everything I need to move forward, God provides through his Word.
Everything we need for wisdom and knowledge about our tomorrow is right here. He offers it to us, unfettered, unabashedly, to anyone who asks.
When I consider the love of my God and his blessings of wisdom, meant to produce fruit, not just in my life, but for those I encounter, my fear of tomorrow and the following year dissipates. It disappears.
So when I keep my eyes on Him, the Healer, the Author, and Finisher, I can see my past with Wonder - and dismiss the mistakes and things that held us down.
And when I dive into Proverbs and search God’s heart through the Proverbs, we receive Wisdom to move into our new tomorrows.
I pray that you allow the Great Healer to speak to your past and bring wisdom for your tomorrows, leading you into a new year of hope and intimacy with Him.