After finishing up my first year at Northside, I was given the opportunity to preach this last weekend about all that 2012 brought us as a church family.
It was a big year in many ways. We’ve seen terrible storms and terrible tragedys. Its been an election year. Its been an Olympic year. For some, this year has brought growth and healing and for others its brought sickness and brokenness.
Either way, a whole lot happened in 2012.
Maybe for you its been mindblowinglyawesome…or maybe its been gut-wrenchingly painful. Maybe a year to remember, maybe a year to forget.
For my family, it was a huge year of change…everything is new in so many ways. New job, new church, new state, new house, new community, new school, new neighborhood…new everything. But looking back, I can see its been a beautiful year of overwhelming blessing.
I’m learning that God doesn’t work on a calendar year.
He doesn’t go on vacation at Christmas and take the week off to slap together some New Years’ Resolutions before coming back after the first of the year and hitting it hard. There was not a reset button at midnight last night. The season you’re in may be the one you stay in for a while.
I’m recognizing that my 2012 had everything to do with my 2011.
2011 was difficult in so many ways, but we saw God provide, we saw God heal, we saw God reaffirm, and we saw Him restore. My 2012 is what it is because of my 2011. And I wouldn’t have that perspective if it weren’t for the process.
The process. A simple way to look back and take some time to review, reflect and resolve.
Its vital that we identify the markers on our timelines…the milestones, the pivotal moments that shape us. Take the time to remember how God has marked you…the game changers of your year. All throughout the Old Testament are stories of God having His people pile up rocks when He did cool stuff. They called them standing stones…physical reminders that He was good and faithful to his covenant. I, personally, don’t have piles of rocks in my backyard, but I do keep a journal. I write because I don’t want to forget how good He has been to me…I don’t want to miss the moments to celebrate Him.
Some things in our lives are easy to celebrate…a new baby, a big promotion, a healing conversation…but not everything that’s marked you has come without struggle. Sometimes its things like the loss of a loved one, the loss of a marriage, or a battle with illness, but nevertheless, we must identify the markers on our timeline because it helps us begin to reflect.
We’ve got to think long and hard about why these markers on our timeline matter. Are you getting older or wiser? What are you learning about yourself? What are you learning about God? How has He stretched you to love Him more and what markers on your timeline reveal that? Reflection is where you are reminded that God will not waste opportunities to grow you. God won’t waste them, but we most definitely can if we don’t take the time to stop and reflect. And when we reflect, it helps us find resolve.
Resolve is that firm determination to do something about what you now know. It’s the what now moment…because of what I know now, what changes? To have resolve is to choose to live with conviction…to reposition ourselves, to change our posture, to live out 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
To live with resolve is to give Him the room to move.
We’ve all got chapters in our lives we would rather rewrite, rip out, bury or burn…pages we want to forget even happened, but the reality is that our stories don’t make much sense without them.
You have no idea how God intends to use you, where you’ve been, or where you are right now to further His kingdom.
So whether you feel like you’re on top of the world, or the world is on top of you…God is still writing your story.
Give Him the pages to work with and be ready to pile up your rocks.