It’s the time of the year when we embark on a cerebral journey into our previous 365 days. Thoughts ensue like “What did I accomplish last year?” and “Am I happy with what I’m doing in life?” This process has the ability to motivate us toward the reset button annually. We itch for something new and exciting. Set exorbitantly lofty goals. And of course, scroll our Instagram page to see if our life looks successful.
As we approach the new year we need to keep 3 points in our back pocket.
1. Don’t be anxious
As we analyze ourselves and wonder what we’re missing, we scramble to find new classes, adventures, flight tickets, hobbies, gear, etc. that we believe will add interest to our lives. We become anxious in taking urgent steps to validate our lives as what they are “supposed” to look like. But is that true at all?
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Matthew 6:25
From the perspective of the Giver of true, abundant life – the ideal life is not found in those additions that we stress over desperately needing. Additions are not harmful or pointless to your life but when we are anxious for them to fulfill our lives then we are trading the truth of the abundant life for a lie in things, wanderlust, trends, fads and stuff. The truth is –
seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33
2. Do be content
Along with the hustle and bustle of being anxious for new desires and ideas to fill our flaws, discontentment arrives. With the year’s expiration date rapidly approaching, we assume that we must launch into more important things so that we may be more significant. This may not be true of all people, but for many of us it really is. We become urgent in seeking treasure and purpose in our lives when seeking the kingdom first leads to those very outcomes. The Apostle Paul, a man who experienced the spectrum from living in blistering cold to bountiful comfort pens his perspective on contentment this way: 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13
Perhaps this year we must discover what it means to live in a new definition of contentment. For we could be exactly where we need to be for now.
26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Acts 17:26-27
It all funnels into this: if we are seeking the kingdom first while pleased with our current circumstance then there is an opportunity to bloom where we have been planted. We ought to initiate bringing fruit to our situation in every way – benevolence, generosity, hospitality, community, marriage, friendships, ministries, day job, career, education. All of it.
23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23
If we are to live this out, there is no time for stressing over what could be or where we could be. There is here and now and there is diligent work to be carried out for the kingdom. Opportunities can and will follow. But why not cause action to begin by initiating in the areas you have available.
We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19
As we turn the page to 2017, do not be crippled by anxiety or paralyzed by discontentment. Manifest the love, care and compassion that pursued you where you are now.