As I spent time reflecting on the challenging year that has just passed, I could only keep thinking of how much I wanted 2015 to be better. Happier. Healthier. Easier. There it was…easier. How I crave easier. I chase after it, complain when I don’t get it, and feel cheated when it evades me in most areas if my life. I am addicted to easy. When I look back at 2014, not much of it found me pushing the “Easy” button. It has been one hard, confusing, frustrating, painful, chaotic, irritating challenge after another for me and for those in my immediate circle. So, it is tempting to throw my hand up to the wind and kiss it good bye, and beg God for a better year. But then I realized that I was equating “better” with “easier”, “more comfortable”, and “happier”. What if I have the wrong definition of better? What if it has absolutely nothing to do with what is happening to me, but everything to do with what is happening in me?
What if all of the hard, frustrating, painful and difficult roads I walked last year developed in me things that I never could have had walking down easy street? Certainly I have seen more of His power and glory displayed in the weakest moments and in the darkest places than I have ever seen on the mountaintops. So, as I asked for “better” in 2015 I felt immediately convicted. He is always better. And what He is doing in me through the good and the bad is better than whatever this world could ever offer me.
“Our happiness is not God’s greatest concern…His greatest concern is our holiness. It is sometimes in our darkest hour that the seeds of faith sown with tears, spring up into a harvest of hope.”
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
So instead of asking for a “better” year, I am asking for Him to keep making me better. If that takes suffering, and difficulties and confusing times, and hard decisions, and being misunderstood, uncomfortable, and restless…then…(insert big sigh of acceptance here) let it be, Lord.
Give me eyes to see You in desperate situations and desperate people that threaten to steal my hope, my trust and my joy. Let me be willing to see those right in front of me through your eyes and remember that we were all lost before we were found…because that would make next year better no matter what happens to me.
Give me ears to really listen without preconceived ideas and cultural biases. Let me hear stories from real people and seek to understand before rushing to judgment. Let walls come down and relationships flourish and the body of Christ grow stronger…because that would make next year better no matter what is crashing down around me.
Give me a humble heart that seeks out opportunities serve and to place others in front of myself. One that finds true joy in in placing my interests last. Let the last go first, let the sick be cared for, let the widow not be alone, let the orphan feel loved, let the elderly be surrounded with community, let Jesus be seen…because that would make next year better no matter how my circumstances may change.
I am confident He wants to give me all these things. So now as I ask him with a bold faith for this newly defined “better” year. That 2015 would mark a year that I intentionally sought out to become more in love with Jesus and more like Him through each and every situation and circumstance that He determines necessary to make me “better”. And at the end of the day, I pray that He gets the glory. That He becomes more, and I become less…and whatever comes my way in these next 363 days, He will find me faithful to this life He has called me to lead.
Have More and More of Him!