Packing for the New Year

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There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven… Ecclesiastes 3:1

The last day of 2012 brings so much to mind – the good, the bad and the ugly.  Packing up our Christmas decorations this week felt a little more like moving than annual trips to the attic.  We had to buy new containers for everything courtesy of the “invasion.”  However, for an OCD packer like myself, I actually enjoyed completley redoing how we organize these things.

While sorting, stuffing and stashing Christmas boxes, my mind drifted to a faraway place.  It was a land where everything I didn’t want to carry into 2013 could be packed up and sent out of sight and daily life just like these seasonal boxes.

I allowed myself to make a dream list of what I would pack including: experiences, conversations, and moments in time that I am weary of replaying in my thoughts and living out in real time.

My foot, for example.  The surgery went as planned, but the recovery did not.  I step into 2013 with prolonged pain due to issues that have been confirmed as maybe they will heal or maybe they won’t.  My 8-week recovery plan foiled, my heart discouraged.

I won’t burden this post with everything I’d love to leave in the archives of 2012. On one hand it was a bit of a bummer to recall the low lights of the year, if only to myself as I packed stockings and ornaments.  However, on the other hand, it was cathartic to, for one last time this year, acknowledge those less-than-stellar times, but now take the reigns to decide what to do with them.

Will I allow these moments to travel with me into 2013 or will I proverbially pack them away to keep them in their place in 2012?

It depends on each individual moment, and it was really good for me to think about them, contemplate their place and seek God’s wisdom to know what to do with them.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean  not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your path. – Proverbs 3:5-6

For some things, I don’t have a choice but to pack them in my luggage for the new year. They are a part of life that I can’t control.  But for others, I said goodbye to the pain and negativity that loomed over me like a dark storm cloud.  Those things are best to stay in 2012, but the lessons I learned from them will carry me on the journey.

I have compartmentalized my mental boxes, labeled them, and tucked away what is unnecessary to fill my heart, mind and arms with for the coming year’s journey.

Deciding which should come with me and which should stay behind is tricky.  I am reminded of the familiar prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr that I saw on a bracelet in a store just this week…

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

serenity bracelet

Each of us stand at a crossroad tonight.  The ball will drop, confetti will fly, and the New Year will come, Lord willing.  What kind of year will this be for you and me?  We may not know, or be able to control, what will happen, but we can control our responses to them.  We need God’s guidance to do this with grace, godly confidence, and humility.

One of my go-to verses for direction in life is…

Jeremiah 6:16, This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls…”

I don’t make a habit of promising new year resolutions, rather I am resolute in seeking God more in 2013. Where He goes, I want to follow – no questions asked.  When He calls me to task, I want to do it with all my heart and with no complaining.  I want to trust Him more deeply, recognize my sin more quickly, and go deeper in being content to simply be in His presence, actions and words optional.  I want to seek His guidance before leaning on my own opinions; rely on His strength instead of my own, and adopt His heart for this world that He so loves.

The serenity prayer became a bit of a cliche to me over the years, but tonight I embrace its wisdom with fresh faith and a hopeful heart.

No one knows what 2013 will bring.  The highs, lows and in between.  What I do know without a doubt is that with God all things are possible for those who believe (Mark 9:23), and His grace is sufficient to meet all of our needs (2 Corinthians 12:9).

A New Year blessing for each of us tonight and in the year to come…

Numbers 6:24-26,

“The LORD bless you and keep you;

the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;

the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

May we know we are loved by the Creator and share His love with creation.  May we forgive others with the same pardon we have been granted.  May we take the time to laugh, feel, and embrace the curiosity of life.  May we stand our ground in the battles worth fighting and have peace & courage to walk away from the ones that aren’t.  May every blessing from our good Father be fully appreciated.  May your smiles outnumber your sorrows, your moments outweigh your minutes, and may love conquer all.

Happy New Year!  Be wise.  Be safe.  Enjoy!

Kristi