I love the crisp new calendar smell, the uncountable options for the unfilled pages. There’s something exciting about the way it feels to have my face in the wind of a new year to inspire me to consider what could be.
We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise. (Romans 5:1b-2)
This paraphrase sums up a dream I have for the new year which trumps the rest: to be fully alive in the wide-open spaces of God’s grace and glory shouting my praise.
Doesn’t that outdo consistent meal planning and thinner thighs? Give me some wide-open space to reflect His glory and I’ll call it a banner year.
The first time I heard St. Irenaeus’s statement “The glory of God is a (wo)man fully alive,” it changed my life. I never considered the idea of my coming fully alive as the best reflection of God’s glory. I knew He was for me, but to understand how my living fully was tied to His glory was more than I could have hoped. His affections for me were even greater than I imagined.
For the first time, I understood how my longing to savor and fully enjoy all of life isn’t a selfish aim, but is in fact what brings glory to God.
There are times we look to the future and the terror of the what if drowns out any excitement about what could be. But if we live like we believe God is for us—truly believe it down in our bones—then the future isn’t something to fear, but something to celebrate.
What if we turned resolutions upside down this year and resolved to:
1. Live like we believe God is for us.
The bedrock to a full life is trust in God. We have to take Him at His word and live like we believe it. We build trust based on His proven track record to work everything for our good. Once we fully appreciate His loving intentions toward us, we can rest in His plan.
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. (Psalm 37:3)
2. Find liberty in our limitations.
In the wide open space of His perfect love, we will let go of our pursuit of perfection. We will remember we have been perfected in His love. The good news is, we were never designed to have it all together (or even pretend to).
In Christ we are complete and only one thing is expected of us: to love Him and reflect His glory.
3. Keep our hopes up and let go of worry.
Hope is described as an anchor for the soul designed to hold us in place when it’s properly attached to truth. He loves us. He will never leave us. He works everything together for our good.
When our hope is in the Lord, we are not endangered; we are renewed.
4. Give God the glory for the things He has done.
Recalling His faithfulness not only increases our faith, it also summons our praise. When we look back on His faithfulness in our lives, we see a pattern emerge: He’s good and holy and loving every single time. He is so worthy of our praise.
Joy rises when we choose gratitude over comparison
Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. (Psalm 100:4)
A full and peaceful, though not problem-free life is available to us. But it is on the other side of our trust in God and surrender of our illusion of control.
He’s inviting us to believe Him—to leave some space on those calendar pages to sip and savor and enjoy the present.
He’s beckoning us to leave our cares in His more than capable hands and come out in the wide open spaces of His grace and glory to stand tall and shout our praise.
Let’s put our faces to the wind of this new year with our hopes up and our souls all in. Life is for the living, and as long as we’re still here, let’s make sure we’re fully alive.