I've been reflecting this new year on some lyrics in a Chris Stapleton song called Starting Over.
This might not be an easy timeThere's rivers to cross and hills to climb And some days we might fall apart And some nights might feel cold and dark But nobody wins afraid of losing And the hard roads are the ones worth choosing Some day we'll look back and smile And know it was worth every mile
Nobody wins afraid of losing...gosh, that really has been exposing my fears. I'm sure my "achiever" personality contributes to the severe aversion I seem to have to losing, but I bet a lot of us relate. Maybe for some of us, this is why it's hard to set goals this time of year. If I write down goals and then don't meet them, I only see the failure, not the journey or the progress. I've been relearning over and over and am reminded again this January that God is most interested in the journey. It's not the mountain tops that matter most, because truth be told, when we're on mountain tops, we don't really feel as if we need God. But its the journey that includes the rivers to cross and the hills to climb, the cold and dark nights, the hard roads, as the lyrics go. God seems to be most interested in the journey because that's where we need him, meet him, depend on him, and enjoy intimacy with him. Just writing that I feel a warmth wash over me reminding me of his never-ending graceful love that never stops pursuing me and I'm grateful.
Starting over for me this year, is including looking back. The Bible calls us to remember as a way of building our faith and keeping our focus on God's good good character, and I want to continue to build this into my daily/yearly rhythms.
We designed a new mug this fall as this was at the forefront of our minds. It included the quote, "If he was faithful then, he will be faithful now." (Deuteronomy 7:9 / Psalm 119:90) What more do we need as we face our fears? If we have truly allowed ourselves to trust him, giving him a chance to prove he is trustworthy, then we will have plenty to build our faith on.
When I reflect on the ups and downs of this year, I'm working hard to etch in my memory the ways he has been faithful above all else. More than the wins or losses, more than times I experienced extreme joy and deep sadness, I am working hard to take inventory of the year through the lens of HIS faithfulness. As I walk through this process of even writing them down, my faith is strengthened and I can approach a new year without "fear of losing", because it's not about winning or losing its about BEING FOUND FAITHFUL to him as he is to us.
I used to work for K-Life Ministries, an extension of Kanakuk Kamps and they had this mantra that has stuck with me: "Be faithful in the process and trust God with the results."
I'm praying you would be encouraged as you look forward to this year and even back over the last. While he is faithful to us, and calls us to be faithFULL towards him, he walks the journey with us.
Eight years ago, when we started Etch, this was the first foundational verse in our first ever product, our Alphabet Scripture Cards. "A" stands for "Always" -
I am always with you.
I'm working to reframe my focus this year, focusing on the journey, and being WITH him through it, and I'm praying that you would too. In my experiences, I can honestly say there's no better way to spend life.
My favorite products for reflecting and planning and practicing being WITH God...
2024 17-MONTH PLANNER: HYDE PARK THEME | HOSANNA REVIVAL
(It's true...Carrie got me to use a planner...it's pretty great!)