Last year at this time, I unknowingly penned some of the same words I fully intended to process out today. Today’s sermon actually covered this verse this morning as I sat in the pew, teary eyed trying not to let my sniffles be audibly heard by my friends besides me.
Colossians 1:17- “And in him all things hold together.”
Leaning hard into that verse, it almost hurts to think about all that 2017 was and did in my heart. In many ways it was joyous and full of wonderful memories of fun, friends and family. Good, wonderful moments. Places visited, people met, and times of rejoicing. But also….times of suffering and heartache.
2017 might as well have been the year of silence in many ways, I couldn’t write or share in the same ways I have done in the past, because the words from the Lord felt much closer and personally deeper that I am not sure if I am ready to share or able to. It is much easier to share when the lesson has been learned and behind you….but in many ways the lessons and sufferings aren’t over yet.
I am in the midst. I am standing in the muck, the grime of life. I speak from the trenches. Maybe my trenches look a little different than yours, but it is still the struggle.
Friends, this is it, right. This is what living really is. It isn’t the Instagram pictures, the funny stories shared on Snapchat. It is the pain behind the eyes. The screams and curse words no one hears or even the ones closest bear the brunt of. The silent tears in the car.
- The breakdown standing in front of a laundry pile.
- It is being surrounded by people but still feeling the ache of loneliness.
- It’s those moments in the grocery store when you are trying to decide whether to drown your sorrows in frozen pizza or ice cream.
- Real life is when someone’s bags are packed ready to leave….and yet still wanting to fight to stay.
- Or when you have to get up and do it all over again, even though your legs and heart feel like lead.
No one wants to share these moments online, we want to be distracted from them.We want to pretend these are just the moments we skip over to get to the shots of pretty lattes and shoes surrounded by leaves. (Totally saying this as my #bestnineof2017 included several of those shots!)
This Holiday season, much like the ones before it have left me wanting. I always have expectations, ideas about what this time of year should hold. It should feel like all those Hallmark movies I have been watching. Snow always flurrying, lights on every house, cookies available at all times.
Even if it is a little like this, it won’t ever be enough. It will always leave us wanting more. Because what we expect from a supposedly happy, joyous season, is actually a satisfaction for deeper longing. One that is broken open by living in this world. A longing that actually doesn’t have an answer that sounds as good as “Family, Love, and gratitude.”
I was frustrated that I was too busy this year to enjoy all my regular holiday things, like cookie backing, and crafting. I didn’t drive around to look at lights and have yet to enjoy some hot chocolate. But someone reminded me that all of those things are great, but it is good that this also be a season of expectancy and longing not just of met expectations.
As someone who is afraid to have expectations to be disappointed in or even crushed hopes for the year to come, expectancy looks much different.
Instead of holding tight to a list of goals, a word, or even some sort of resolution, being expectant means opening your hands, arms, and even heart to an anticipation of seeing what God will do with this blank slate of a year.
“For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angle departed from her.” -Luke 1:37-38
Oooh, that feels too vulnerable, right? Right now instead of writing this, I should be deciding on my 2018 word, creating some sort of Instagramable image to share with everyone. Something to give others hope and inspiration.
For me, proclaiming things over my year, makes me think that I am the one steering this thing, it implants this idea in my head that I am the captain of my soul.
Maybe that I have to pick the just right WORD to hold my life together. A lie that I cling to…..to easily point blame or reason with, when things go wrong or the disappointment is just too real. Or even a word to just forget after January or misplace in the rough terrain for February.
So we our own scapegoat when we don’t meet goals or life fails us in some way. Or its an ego boost when things are going right. For our glory or downfall. Holding ourselves responsible for everything. Worshipping our own abilities, talents and gifts.
Right there it is….when we place ourselves in the captain seat of our lives, we are essentially trying to be our own savior, superhero and more.
Isn’t the truth is so, so much better….because Jesus is better.
“and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” – Heb. 12:24
He has spoken the better word not only over 2018 but our lives.
The truth that says that we don’t have to be the one steering the ship. We have someone that has already put themselves in the captain seat, the throne of our hearts and souls. He came to take over the ship and steer us into eternity. He holds the responsibility, he took on all the blame so we didn’t have to. He is the captain that we could never be.
Mary knew that as she said those words “Let it be according to your word.” She modeled an expectant heart for God to work. And work he did.
So friends, as you enter into 2018, may your coffee and expectancy to be strong. And may you see God work in impossible and mighty ways, not just in your lives but more importantly your hearts.