See, I am doing a new thing!Isaiah 43:19–21
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
The wild animals honor me,
the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,
the people I formed for myself
that they may proclaim my praise.
If you joined us yesterday to review 2021, you might have some lingering questions. Perhaps you remembered things left undone, character traits you wish you had exhibited more fully, or longings that went unmet.
Our God is faithful, and He promises to continue creating new works in and through us! How can we dream about 2022 and partner with Him where He’s already at work?
I used to set several specific goals for each new year—an effective exercise for some people, but one that filled me with a fear of failure. So for the past several years, I’ve focused on one word or phrase. It might be related to a lesson God’s been teaching me, a habit I’d like to adopt, or something I aspire to do or be. I keep that word visible throughout the year to remind me to check in on my progress periodically.
How do I choose my word? First, I reflect on specific questions to help set my vision for the new year. One key question is, “At the end of 2022, how do I want to be different?” I also pay attention to words or phrases that keep popping up in my mind, especially as I spend time with the Lord. Finally, I consider my core values. Then I stir it all together in my mental Cuisinart—praying, meditating, journaling, drawing, processing with a friend, and listening to the Holy Spirit. If the vision doesn’t come together right away, I give it time to rest, trusting that it will take shape eventually.
Anchor, dependence, use me, surrender, and opportunity are just some of the words I’ve used. Sometimes, I change my mind mid-year. For example, halfway through my opportunity year, I realized that all of my opportunities involved surrender, so I focused on surrender for two years!
I love what someone posted on Facebook: “For the past four years, I have focused on a word or phrase. NONE have I mastered, but ALL have given me more insight into who God desires me to be.” The goal is progress, not perfection—to live as the masterpiece God created, pointing to Him with praise.