photo courtesy of Kazuend on Unsplash

Anticipation is a glorious word. It speaks of dreams and hopes and the wonder of expectations not yet known.

Recollection is just as significant–remembering what has been. It connotes a willingness to learn from what was, recognizing our stories are real pieces of us that we shouldn’t ignore or deny.

A new decade has begun, another turning of the calendar page to day one.

New Year’s Eve was more reflective this year. We gathered with some friends and asked each other questions I often prefer to avoid.

What were the toughest challenges this past year?

Being high on the positivity side, I don’t always like looking back. Dad used to say, “Don’t worry about the past; it’s water over the dam.” I took that to heart and tend to move past hard things; I don’t deal well with personal pain and disappointment.

I’ve had a lot of disappointments and pain this past year, with family, friends, and job situations. Voicing some of those things out loud made me realize I’ve got a need to own what has happened, forgive some people, and ask forgiveness of others.

What am I grateful for?

That was easier. I’m grateful for family, friends, and a job I feel is significant, a place where I can make a difference. We have a home big enough for folks to stay when there’s a need, a true haven for us and others. Aware of the conditions around the world, I have the freedom to worship God and share His truth with others without fear of punishment.

All that was looking at what I can see and evaluate.

The last question was harder.

What do you hope for in the new year?

This has nothing to do with resolutions, which are our attempts at self-improvement without significant help or motivation. Too often they end in frustration, failure, and more shame for not following through.

This was all about dreaming. Pressing on to the hope that lies ahead.

Dreams are those things that are bigger than we can imagine. Greater than what our circumstances indicate could happen. Thinking past what we see to what we hope for.

Culturally we’ve learned to live by what we know and see. If you have a question, google the answer. If you have a dilemma, there are YouTube videos that can help you figure out solutions. Pinterest gives ideas when imagination lags. Strategies, spreadsheets, self-help books move us past our stuck places.

Dreaming? Imagining the impossible?

That’s harder.

I dream of more margin in my life, spaces to do what I long to do–finish my novel, spend time with people I haven’t made time to see, time to just think. No amount of resolution can make those things happen.

God can.

He sees my flaws, my brokenness, and loves me through the process of growth. He’s not frustrated with my failure. He embraces me in it and encourages me to move forward. Growth isn’t something forced; it’s the result of an increased relationship with the One who made me special. More than I can imagine.

Give yourself the freedom to dream.

It’s where God releases newfound hope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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