Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Lifting up my eyes

I never make New Year's resolutions. I guess I figure I'm not gonna keep 'em. If I am going to set goals, there is nothing magical about a new calendar year that will  somehow wipe away the past failures or give me a better chance of success.

That said, I've changed my mind this year. While it is an arbitrary time, it is good to have some time to look back, evaluate, and set goals.

I tend to be a lot better at the looking back part. "I should have..." "Why didn't I...?" and all the glorious, jagged agony of regret.

This shame-based exercise is not godly. It is self-focused, not God-focused.

It assumes god-like traits on my part; the ability to know everything, including the future, the ability to be sinless, the ability to always execute my will perfectly. It is not noble, excellent, praiseworthy, lovely or admirable.

It doesn't lead to repentance and a closer relationship with the Lord. It leads to shame and a wrong understanding of who I am before the throne of God.

I am not defined by my failures or successes, but by who I am in God's eyes.

I am His bride.

 He died for me.

I am His heir.

I am His worshipper.

I am His child.

I am clothed in the righteousness of Jesus.

I want to look back in a godly way, seeing the imperfect progress I am making, the slow restoration of soul, that God is working in me. I want to thank Him for never leaving me. I want to revel in His forgiveness and mercy. I want to bask in His perfection, instead of trying to achieve my own. I want this reflection to draw me closer to Him.

Last night we sat down and thought about what God taught us this year, the trials He has walked us through.

We prayed about concerns for the New Year. We prayed with the kids and wrote our prayer requests down so that we can see how God answers them.

I am setting my sights on 2013. Ann Voskamp mentioned that she names her year. I've been pondering this, not sure if it would work for me. Isn't that a little bold, naming a whole year before I have any idea of what happens in it? I can grasp the concept of naming it after it is over and known. Maybe 2012 was the year of hidden hope, the year of the sprained ankle, the year I-almost-lost-it-all.

Yet the idea of naming the year beforehand won't quite let go of me. The idea of looking through all the events that happen with a certain filter, seems so hopeful and reorienting. It seems like it would be a way of truth-telling to yourself. Hey, don't forget, this is the year you have named Hope, Joy, Peace...! It seems like a guard-rail or a treasure hunt. Maybe it is a bit like naming your child-- choosing a name in the face of the unknown, hoping to call out and cultivate goodness and blessing.

Maybe it is ok to set goals. Maybe it is ok to hope. Maybe it is ok to name a year before the first day has ended. Maybe when I stumble and fall this naming will call me onward and upward.

So what I am calling 2013?

The year of Seeking His Face.

This year I want to lift up my eyes to the glorious eternal truths, instead of my circumstances. I want to value what God values, not what my flesh says I need to chase. I want to have eyes only for my Savior. I want savor His presence. He is the sweet husband who gently lifts my head when I became ashamed or engulfed in sin. He is my shield and my very great reward. 

You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.” Psalm 27:8

I hope to live 2013 with head tilted up, my heart singing His praise, my mind filled with His Word, thinking His thoughts after Him. I want to live every day with this reminder to turn my my face towards His, to hear Him in word, to draw near to my heavenly Father. Your face, Lord, do I seek.

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