Cue the January winter blues. The holiday decorations have been packed away for another year. The radio stations won’t play 24/7 Christmas songs again for another 11 months (this is a good thing!). The kids are back in school (again, a good thing!). And most of all: you’ve written the wrong year enough times over the first couple weeks that you’ve finally trained your brain to write 20189…oh, never mind.
It’s also the time of year when we feel inspired to ask God what His goals are for our lives over the next 12 months. As those around us make (and break!) New Year’s resolutions, believers around the world come before the Lord to seek His will. We feel motivated and inspired to “reset” our purpose and our calling for the new year – to walk more closely with Jesus, and to better align our plans with His plans (and that’s ALWAYS a good thing!).
But what happens when we ask God to show us, “What next?”, and we’re met with what seems like silence? When we think we’re supposed to make big, dramatic changes, but He doesn’t open doors or move us forward in an obvious way? It can feel like we’re on a treadmill – we keep picking up speed, but it’s as if we’re going nowhere. Or are we? Could it be that we put so much stock in the idea of waiting for God to trumpet His will to us in some big, elaborate way, that we completely miss the fact that His will is for us to just take the next step – whatever we think that is – now, here, in this moment?
Proverbs 16:3 (NIV) says, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans.” Notice that it doesn’t say, “Wait until the Lord gives you 12 different signs to do something, and then do it” or “Do nothing until the Lord establishes your plans, and then you can take the next step.” It says whatever we do, give it to God, and let Him use it! For some, that could mean making big changes…and for others, it could mean continuing in what we’re already doing. There are those who will feel called in 2019 to pick up and move abroad to serve in international missions – just like there are those who will feel called to the trenches of the “mission field” known as parenting. Others will take occupational risks by accepting a promotion or starting in a new career field altogether. Some will graduate from school and enter a new stage in their lives, and others will go back to school, thereby entering a new stage in theirs. None is better or greater or more “noble” than another – but God can use ALL of them, because He uses ALL of us. What we do in this temporary life is minor compared to why we’re doing it. Are we reaching the lost? Sharing the Gospel? Spreading His love? If the answer is “yes”, then we’re doing exactly what we’re called to do, regardless of how it looks!
Our God doesn’t confine His will to monumental life events, nor to everyday tasks and routines – He’s in both. As believers, He’s given us the gift of the Holy Spirit so we can seek discernment, but also so we can live confidently and expectantly, knowing that whatever our circumstances are, He can utilize them for His glory. This year, instead of viewing ourselves as going “nowhere”, let’s rejoice in the fact that He’s placed us “now, here” for this exact time in history, to use the unique abilities He’s given us to make an impact on earth as it is in heaven!