I spent the days leading up to New Year’s much like everyone else, I imagine: determined to do whatever it takes to make 2021 a better year than 2020 was! I am coming out of the newly postpartum phase of life and feeling like I needed a jumpstart to be feeling good again, and so had decided before the holidays that I was going to spend January doing the Whole30 Challenge again, as well as a 30 day Pilates challenge. I was going to hit my daily targets of more water, less coffee, more intentional time with the kids and less striving for things that don’t matter. I was going to write more and read the Bible more. I was going to have a month of cleansing the house of clutter and re-evaluating our space for functionality sake and for using what we have to its best advantage. I was going to set myself up right for a great year!
It was this frame of mind that had my brain racing and tumbling as I was coming home from an appointment for the baby on New Year’s Eve. I had spent the whole drive to the appointment praying aloud and enjoying time just getting a chance to talk to God on my own and feeling His peace settle over me and calm my mind and my emotions. But on the drive back, my mind already was back to churning, and I was bent over the wheel, making my way back home and thinking of all the things that I needed to do to be “ready” for the New Year: packing Christmas decorations away, cleaning the house fresh and shiny-sparkly clean, grocery shopping, prepping for Whole30, etc.
That was my focus as I came to the top of the mountain that we have to cross to get home from the doctor’s. I was hunched forward in my seat, not breathing deeply, my mind racing, focused on the road in front of me, and seeing just the dark, dirty, muddy bleak landscape in front of me as it was a cold and rainy day. But, as I came to the top of the mountain, something drew my eyes up and into the distance and I saw the rest of the mountains far off, looking so strong and so steady, so immoveable. They looked peaceful and beautifully blurry in the mist and the Bible verse instantly came to my mind :
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.” – Psalm 121:1-2
And suddenly I had tears in my eyes but such clarity in my mind. I sat back in my seat, took a deep breath and just thanked God for Who He is, and what He does and how He never leaves us!
I can spin my wheels and think of all of the things. I can take all of the steps to re-establish my good habits and feel better about what I eat or how I spend my time. I can certainly do the things that make me a healthier and better steward of my body and my time and my home…BUT it is the LORD God alone who “makes all things new” (Revelation 21:5, 2 Corinthians 5:17) and will “make everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
God is the thing, the person, that we need to make a New Year a better year. God is the one who brings about renewal and refreshed minds and spirits. God is the one who will make all things count for good. The enemy would like us to think that 2020 was a wash because it was difficult. He would like us to forget the year entirely and plan on a new year changing everything. He would like us to be so caught up in self-help, fad-diet thinking that we start to believe that WE are the change that we need.
2020 was hard. For many people, it may have been the hardest year of their lives. But as believers, we know that all things that come to us have first been allowed by our Father, to be for our good and for His glory. The test comes when we are able to see trials and difficulties in that light! Things may be difficult, and heavy and feel insurmountable, but it should just serve to remind us of how little we are and how great is our God! We can’t change the world, we can’t hold our families together or keep ourselves sane while on lockdown or schooling kids at home or juggling more things than we ever have in a time of enforced isolation. We can’t bring physical and mental healing to those we love. We can’t have the wisdom to know what to do in these unprecedented times, but we know God. We have the Holy Spirit. We already have all we need to have the best year ever.
So what will make 2021 a better year? Whole30? Drinking more water and less coffee? No. Those may make my jeans fit better or my confidence a little higher or my body function better, but what will change my life will be more time with God, more time studying His Word and more loving of His people. That will be what changes my life this year.
Please Lord, let it be the best year ever because I was with You. Please lift my eyes from the dirty road in front of me to the mountains in the distance where You are waiting to help me. Please make me new!