New Year New Me - it's a phrase that I'm taking as my motto for 2018, I'm leaving things of my past in the past in 2017, and bringing forward the lessons learned and leaving the baggage behind. That's what the Devil wants - for us to continue to drag our baggage forward with us into each new day, new year, and new experience.
I'll be honest that 2017 didn't end the way I wanted it to end. I had plans for myself and relationships that did not come to fruition the way I planned. So when the ball dropped at midnight I sat regretful about what didn't come to pass. The next morning I was still hungover with regrets. What a way to start the new year! So as I sat doing my morning devotional (which is one of my 2018 intentions, spending my first thoughts of the day with God) I was struck with a message about my own contentment and pride.
During my devotion I had a heart moment about my pride. It was my pride that believed that I had better plans than God. It was my pride that allowed me to try and plan out my future. It was my pride that was upset when it didn't happen on my timeline. So it was my pride that opened the door for Satan to come in and use my insecurities to drive me farther into regret. It was also my pride that didn't allow me to be content in the experiences that God gives me in each day.
Proverbs 16:18 "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall."
Boy had I fallen!! So I decided in that moment I was going to stop feeling sorry for myself and start being content in my situation.
The apsotle Paul has this overwhelming desire that he is being called to go to Rome and preach, and if you follow along through Acts, you'll see that Paul's journey was not a direct route, nor was it a particularly glamorous or well received. when get to Acts 27 Paul is finally on his way to Rome, but as a prisioner, and the ship he was on hits a storm, the boat is destroyed, and he and the crew are washed to shore. Paul's dream of going to Rome had been YEARS in the making, only to be delayed further by a shipwreck. But that didn't stop Paul from being content in the situation God placed him in, God needed for Paul to experience that storm. I believe God doesn't always stop the storm or remove us from the hurt and discomfort. in fact I know that he uses that storm to draw us into experiences we need. Because if you finish reading into Acts 28 you'll see that God uses Paul's shipwreck on Malta to heal people and preach the word
Paul, now in jail, writes to the church in Phillippi:
Philippians 4:11-13 " “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
Dont miss the meaning of this verse and it's place in the text. Paul is not content because he has what he planned for or the perfect life! No! Paul's a prisioner! Paul was content because he knew God had it all handled
So I decided to make a change in myself this new year, and instead of it being a resolution, I want it to be an intention. I intend to be content in everyday and every experience. In the good, bad, ugly, joyous, sad, happy, fearful, whatever it is... I will be content. Because if I constantly focus on the future or past, I lose the meaning of the experience I'm in and I lose my focus on God who has it handled. That doesn't mean I don't prepare for the future or I'm complacent, it means that each thing that happens I know that God is sovereign in handling. So no matter what happened in the past or happens in the future, I know that God has it all in his sovereign control. And if I get so busy looking at past and future and comparing, I won't be content in the moment I'm in, and I miss the opportunity to be in the moment and experience what I need for the next season of life. If a farmer misses a step in the planting process - the harvest is not there. In being content I know that what happens can be handled by God and I will be ok; if I get a job or don't, if I get married or not, if i move or don't, if I have much or I have little - God is sovereign!
So I intend to be content in everything that happens, what I'm called to and away from, knowing I have a sovereign God who holds my past, present, and future!
PAUSE & JOURNAL: what do you intend to leave in your 2017? What do you intend to bring forward with you into 2018? What does being content look like to you?
PRAYER: Heavenly Father and sovereign God... you are the Great I AM! You were there in the past, in my present, and future. You know all things and can do all things. I confess that I've not always allowed you to be in control and I've tried to do it myself. But yet so lovingly you comfort and correct me. thank you for your grace and mercy. I pray Lord that you will lead me not just into a new year, but every new day and new moment and experience with contentment. Give me a spirit of peace knowing your sovereign over all things! Amen 🙏🏽
"God works for the good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose " Romans 8:28