It’s a new year!
For some of you there is excitement in the air as the calendar turns to 2023. Our family is looking forward to the arrival of a new grandson! For other families, like the one I mentioned last week who lost Dawn, the grief must be gut-wrenching as her loved ones face their first year without a mom, wife, or sister. Our problems in one year carry over into the next, like my friend whose husband was diagnosed with leukemia just nine days ago on December 22. Such circumstances can make the “Happy” in “Happy New Year” vaporize.
Apart from hope in Christ, the joy of turning the calendar page at midnight can be threatened. I know God is good and He will see my family through 2023 as He saw us through 2022, but I am not in the mood for resolutions.
Instead, I am choosing a word for the year…WALK
Walk the Line
I learned a principle in December of 2022 that I am taking with me into 2023. I was listening to a podcast, the Happy Hour, with Jamie Ivey. The guest being interviewed said, The world will push us to be less than ourselves and more than ourselves. She then explained.
We can become LESS than God intended us to be. The world will push us to do things like game too much, drink too much, or medicate our problems instead of face them. The world will tell us we deserve a break and to take it easy when we should not be.
On the flip side, we can become MORE than God intended us to be. We do so much in life just because we can, not always because it is best. The world will push us to do things like earn another degree, why not? Get another job, why not? Accept that job transfer, why not? The world will push us to add that new thing to our lives that fits with some skilled maneuvering but it can be more than God intends for us.
As I lived December of 2022, walking the line between LESS than God wants me to be and MORE than God wants me to be was extremely helpful. Like you, I navigated the “busy” — the guests, the tasks, the broken dishwasher and refrigerator, decorating, Christmas cards and gift buying. More than once, as I was tempted to buy one more gift or purchase a gift too expensive for my budget, I could feel myself being tempted to be MORE than God intended me to be and I successfully stopped the purchase.
Speaking of shopping, I wanted to share the results of my ideas in the Shopping with Jesus in Mind post HERE. Although I appreciated many thoughtful gifts this year that I treasure, some friends and family decided to spend some money on the poor as well.
A family member made a donation to Peace Preparatory Academy. A friend gave me earrings made by Halieth from Burindi through the Refugee Sewing Society Inspired by the Jesus as Poor post HERE, a family member sponsored Kevin in Nicaragua through Compassion International who had been waiting 439 days for a sponsor. Another family member used gift money budgeted for me to stock a hospital “closet” with spare infant clothes for families that cannot or will not visit their little ones in the hospital.
Walk with God
As I famously say, nothing has changed between yesterday and today in terms of how to handle each day — Walk with God and go to bed. Whether a good day, bad day, or in between, the “formula” remains the same. No difference. As sadness threatens my joy this new year, I want to be hyper-focused on this reality in order to remain victorious in my circumstances.
I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16)
You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess. (Deuteronomy 5:33)
As I age, my knees won’t let me run anymore, and my right knee can “go out” for a few days at a time every now and then. Arthritis is setting in. I need to walk, so walk I will.
HERE is a list of 20 benefits of walking daily to share with everyone you know:
- It’s Free
- Weight Loss
- Lower Diabetes Risk
- Live Longer
- No Learning Curve
- Socializing Opportunity
- Reduces Heart Issues
- Decreases Obesity Risk
- Good for Family Health
- Helps With Creativity
- Adjusts to Your Fitness Level
- Cuts Down Sugar Cravings
- Improves Immunity
- Reduces the Risk of Breast Cancer
- Can Improve Mental Health
- Eases Joint Pain Caused by Arthritis
- Lowers Blood Pressure
- Get Focused
Picture Explanation: A “happy” in this happy new year for me is my dad’s birthday. He is a New Year’s baby! My dad stays in close contact by phone and we pretend to solve all the world’s problems by exercising free speech, approaching all topics (even if sparks fly), and we always hang up still loving each other and grateful for the venting. I love him so much.
I also love my mother, whose birthday was just a few weeks ago in December. I got to see her this year when she traveled to us to attend a baby shower. She is a force to be reckoned with. By God’s grace, she is physically strong and capable, and she quilts masterpieces! She is beautiful and I appreciate dad and her sacrificing the time, energy and finances to visit us.
© 2023 by Oaks Ministries. All rights reserved.
If you are interested in being contacted about participating in a One Gritty Blink Bible study in 2023, click on the Oaks Ministries link below and contact me by email. Let’s focus on things that count for eternity!
Happy New Year Laurie! I am going to make my word for this year (2 words)
Love your words! Father, grant Ethel the grace to live with greater purpose in 2023 than ever before. Amen.
Beautiful and inspiring post, Laurie. Thank you for the great, wise, and true reminder that we are called to walk in the way Jesus has for us. May we know him and his ways and his will in ever increasing measure!
Lord, grant my friend and I the ability to walk well in 2023. Thank you for the privilege I have to walk arm-in-arm with her in so many ways.
What a gift you are to me!
And you are a gift back.
P.S. I love the pics and the family update!
It was great to reflect on the family I have. These are my people. God gave them to me and asked me to love them well. I pray I do.