Is it possible to end the year with hope?
It is that time of the year when people evaluate the last twelve months of their lives and plan for the next twelve.
I am in a reflective season myself, thinking about the dreams that came to pass this year. And those that did not.
This was the year I hoped to publish two more books, register our non-profit work, organize marriage and business conferences with my husband, travel outside the US for vacation and start Intentional Today gatherings, among other things.
But these goals are rolling into next year, largely unfulfilled.
I was pondering my unmet aspirations and remembered something a pastor’s wife said many years ago. She said,
Yearly calendars do not limit God.
See, we tend to look at December like the end of the road; we plan for twelve months and then feel like failures when we cross the finish line, still clutching our dreams.
The pastor’s wife suggested,
What if we looked at January like a continuation of December?
Realize that God is not limited by time. Seasons and timings are a big deal to us (rightfully), but God lives far above them!
Instead of spending this time of the year worrying about unfulfilled expectations, we should expend more energy towards thanking God for the successes of the last twelve months and trusting Him to fulfill the rest of His promises in His time.
Planning To End The Year with Hope
Planning and focusing our energy is essential, no doubt. Nevertheless, we tend to emphasize our timing and not God’s sovereignty and ability to redeem the time.
There’s nothing wrong with a plan, nothing wrong with creating goals and changing habits that will help us move closer to our vision.
But earthly calendars are just that; formulations to help us live more fully.
They are not meant to rule over us or terrify us. God controls time; what we cannot wrap our minds around, He does. And He has a plan.
As this year comes to a close, I am determined to sign off with a shout of joy and expectant hope!
Why joy? Because God gave me more than I dreamed or deserved this year!
He blessed me with life, salvation, and a happy marriage.
I checked off many other goals, like consistent exercise (physical and spiritual), missions events in Kenya, a new laptop, two manuscripts written (and more resource ideas), a successful relocation, a new church family and friends, growth in ministry and so much more!
So why should we end the year with hope?
Because Philippians 4:6-7
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus
His peace will guard your heart and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. As I pray over the unmet dreams AND thank God for what He did in this year, He releases a supernatural joy and faith for the coming year!
It’s the kind of hope that defies human calculation, the kind that comes only through prayer and gratitude.
I want to encourage you (and myself) as we wrap up the year – God is not done with you yet!
He is not done with your marriage. He is not done with your life. If you are single, He sees your desire for a husband; He knows your longing. He is in control, even when life and seasons feel out of control.Now
Now, if we believe what God says is true, if we trust His word, then what kind of people ought we to be? How should we act, what should we be saying? How should we be ordering lives?
1. Allow hope to birth big expectation!
but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. Hebrews 4: 2b
God’s promises are powerful by themselves – however, we must believe Him for the promise to work. And then we must high in our belief!
I want to be the kind of person who actively pursues God, intentionally stays on course and refuses to yield to fear and anxiety.I want to be the kind of person who actively pursues God, intentionally stays on course and refuses to yield to fear and anxiety.
We serve an exuberant God, and my faith needs to be up there, measuring up to His generosity and not bowing low to my inabilities.
2. Be the kind of person who agrees with God – who declares life, not defeat.
The tongue has the power of life and death, Proverbs 18:21
We need to be the kind of people who watch our words, who learn to “zip it” when there’s nothing life-giving to say.
3. Be the kind of person who notices what God has already done and cultivates an attitude of gratitude.
Please read this post on how God is transforming my heart in this area.
I pray you have a super blessed Christ-centered end of the year. May God increase your capacity for the coming year! I can’t wait to see what He has in store for all of us!
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