Word of the Week

What Are Your Plans for the New Year?

new-years-resolutions-for-2014-adjusting-financial-goalsLast week on New Year's Day, I was sitting among a table of family and one person asked,

"Where do you want you life to be at this moment in 2018 that you aren't in today?"

Everyone went around the table to share as we feasted on the traditional southern meal that Kevin put together for the evening-- greens, black-eyed peas, okra and fried chicken of course. So good.

Some folks talked about getting better in shape. Others talked about where they wanted to be in their careers.

We imagined what my 6 month old daughter would say if she could talk "I want to walk." (And we know she will after all the moving around she's doing lately. . . bring on the baby gates!)

When it came to my turn, I could only answer, "I don't know."

The folks around the table graciously accepted my answer and we moved on in conversation, but I wondered about it later.

How could I say, "I don't know?!!" Aren't I " a get stuff done, know where I am going" kind of person?

But, after 2016 being such a banner year, a year when so many BIG dreams came together, dreams like publishing my first book and welcoming a child into our home and continuing to have opportunities to help churches in the interim work I love-- dreams that were YEARS in the making, it's hard to imagine what I will get into this year.

It's ok that I don't know. 

Will 2017 be about preaching in a more full-time way in a congregation? Maybe.

Will 2017 mean devoting serious attention to my new book project about how God creates families in unconventional ways? Maybe

Will 2017 include more travel and attention given to the foundation that got going last year called Our Courageous Kids? Maybe

Will 2017 be about something that I can't even articulate to you right now? FOR SURE!

So maybe it's time to dream about new dreams? Or find strength to remain faithful to what I know for sure. 

One Sunday ago, I preached at Oaklands Presbyterian Church in Laurel, MD, my friend LeAnn's lovely congregation. I am the first to admit that often the material of my sermons always has connection to what I am struggling with in my own life.  Don't let a preacher tell you otherwise. 

So while sharing about the "Slaughter of the Innocents/ Jesus flees to Egypt" passage from Matthew 2, I couldn't help but add in another reading from four chapters over in the same book:

Jesus says, “Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into bars, yet your Heavenly Father feeds them . . . Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to the span of your life?

For it's such timeless wisdom. Everyday has enough troubles of its own, we need not take our mind on over to tomorrow's troubles!  Yet of course so HARD to practice. Who really does?

Yet, the point of my sermon was this:  God gives us the direction we need when we need it (though often not a moment before). And in response, our job is simply to listen and then do it. Just as God directed Joseph about where his family was to live, God will also direct us.

From the big details (where will I work in 2017?) to the in between (how will I find more time for my friends this year?) to the small (what will I make for dinner tonight?) I know a loving God who cares about it ALL.

And in my heart of heart, I believe this about my 2017 and I believe this about yours. God will lead you. Period.

Plans aren't all that necessary. In fact, often OUR plans get in the way.

Join me in listening, though.