January 1, 2012: another holiday season behind us and a brand new year in front of us! Exciting or depressing as that may be, I usually have one of two reactions to January: complete hibernation or an obsessive dedication to radical change in every area of life. Nothing like realism to start a new year!
Spending lots of time with family sometimes adds to my desire to either run (far far away) or to completely transform myself asap. Families, even the healthiest happiest ones, all have issues and bad patterns and their own kind of baggage. If you, like some of us, are emerging from a holiday haze induced by some personal and family brokenness, here are some points of encouragement:
Christmas doesn’t end at the manger. Christ came and lived and died and rose again. That reality infuses even the most difficult relationships, family or otherwise, with hope for the future. It also puts 2012 in its proper perspective: I don’t need to run and I don’t need to transform myself. I am His workmanship, and He’s still working on me.
Family, though good, is the not the goal. In this context, it’s often easy to want to be rescued from family issues by someone (anyone!) of the husband persuasion. But that gets things mixed up: spouses don’t fix family problems, and they always have their own. Our truest calling is not to human marriage but to Christ himself.
My friend E put it beautifully in a recent email:
I think of what He has called us to… to glorify Him in all that we do and enjoy Him forever. If this is our primary purpose, how are we enjoying Him right now in this time and place? Are the thoughts that find our minds the most frequently ones that bring us greater joy of who he is? Are the activities and conversations where we spend a hearty portion of our time and energy leading us closer to counting all things joy and giving us better vision that He is working all things for the good of those who love Him?
And, in interest of honest candor, I can’t answer those affirmatively. Worry, exhaustion, pain, and self-pity creep in ever so softly… and its only Grace that kicks them back where they belong… in the proverbial gutter. And strangely, this call we have to Him has very little to do with singleness… but everything to do with the lesser gods I truly believe this prince of darkness tries to convince us will bring meaning to our pain and brokenness, essentially clouding our vision to the Kingdom we are truly in. That said, I have seen and heard each of you choose joy and live as such in bold, fearless ways. And so, perhaps I remind myself to not grow weary in this choosing.
And as we fast and pray tomorrow, I will pray that your 2012 starts with much hope, and that we stay rooted in Christ and His finished work on our behalf.
In His grace,