Here you are today, at the very end of a year of life marked by the numbers 2,022. What title will you give this year? If this year were a chapter in the book of your life, what would the title of this chapter be now that you’re on the final page?
The funny thing about stories is, they kind of twist and turn and go in directions you didn’t necessarily envision in the beginning. That’s why you don’t title it until the end. Each morning I sit down to write a new devotional, thinking one thing, and allow it to flow in whatever direction God leads, then the last thing I do is title it.
On this final Friday of 2022, you get to look back over this year of life and give it a title. What was this year for you? The year God got you through the unimaginable. The year of ups and downs on a wild ride. The year of challenges. The year of breakthroughs. The year of ridiculous blessings. The year of change. The year of growth.
But what if it was really the year of regret. The year of getting stuck. The year of settling.
No one would want to title the year with negativity, yet for many of us, the truth is, this is a year we regret. We regret the things we didn’t do. We regret the things we gave up on. We regret the things we didn’t make a priority. We regret being deeper in a hole than we were last year at this time.
Have you ever had a year like that? I have. You can’t wait to get away from it and hope the new year will be different. But remember, nothing changes unless you do. It’s pure insanity to think you can keep doing the same things and get a different result. If you want something different, honey you have to change what you’re doing.
Maybe this year was one of those years for you. You didn’t make the progress you had dreamed of making. You didn’t achieve the goals you had hoped for. You’re looking back now and you’re disappointed. Disappointed that the days passed while you did nothing, just the same as they would have if you would have been doing what you needed to do.
You’re not alone. In fact, you’re in the majority.
Somewhere along the way, we settled. We settled for what was easy over what we would have to work for. We settled for what was immediate over what would take time. We settled for what was familiar over what was unknown. And when we settle, we think we’re settling for more of the same, but the truth is, nothing ever stays the same. Settling creates decay. It creates rot in our lives. It creates stagnant waters where living things go to die.
And what if 2023 is your invitation to step out of settling and dare to dream with God about what he has declared is possible in your life. What if God has been stirring you up, giving you glimpses of what your life could be in him, fanning that little flame within you, all because NOW IS THE TIME to write a different story.
2023 doesn’t have to be more of the same ol’ thing. You’ve heard the saying, New Year New You. Well, it’s cheesy as heck, but what if a new you can show up and start making the choices in your life. What if a new you can partner with God in writing this story?
Isaiah 43:19 “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
In the very area of your life that causes you regret this year, God is saying HE IS DOING A NEW THING! Now the question is, do you want to partner with him in this new thing? Do you want to work with him, or dig your heels in here and settle in your old thing? Do you want to stay the same, or are you willing to change?
The Israelites were God’s chosen people, yet they were stuck in a desert for 40 years. Their journey through that desert to their Promised Land was only an 11 day journey, however they remained in limbo, short of their destination, for 40 years. Generations died in that desert. A desert that was only meant to be temporary. Yet, they settled there.
What if God has a Promised Land awaiting you, but you’ve settled for a temporary stop along the way and called it good enough? What if God created you for so much more than you’re currently experiencing in life, and the only reason you’re not living more is because you’ve stopped?
Are you in limbo. You’re not where you once were, but you’re certainly not where you could be? The dangers of limbo is we decide it’s good enough, and we settle here. Honey, YOU WERE NOT CREATED FOR THIS LIMBO. THIS IN BETWEEN IS NOT YOUR DESTINATION. It’s part of your journey, but move on now, girl!
Where have you stopped short of God’s full promise? Where have you settled for less when God created you for more? Where have you camped out in the wilderness when God has overflowing provisions destined for you beyond this?
Lord, what new thing do you want to do in my life? What old thing do you want me to let go of? Where have I settled because it got hard?
If God gives you another opportunity in this new year of life called 2023, will you go for it? Will you stick with the story he has for you as it unfolds, and dare to see what the title of this one could become?
Here’s one thing for sure, God doesn’t intend for the title of 2023 to become “More Of the Same” or “Still Stuck Here” for you. He has planned for a new thing. He has planned for a way out of this wilderness. Yes, a way where there has never been a way before. But in order for you to find that way, you will have to get up and search for it. Finding a new way requires a heart and mind set on not settling here!
God has planned for a stream that will lead you out of this wasteland. But you need to know something about this stream, it won’t be a straight line. Streams twist and turn. They grow bigger in places, and smaller in others. Sometimes that stream gets down to a trickle. And God is asking if you will still go even with a trickle. Will you still let him lead you even when it turns in directions you didn’t want?
Remember, that’s what stories do. They turn. They turn because they flow. And your life will flow in 2023 if you decide you’re not settling here. What will it become? Gosh, I have no idea, but I know God can be trusted with his good plans. I know he has a Promised Land for you and for me, and if we settle here we will surely miss it.
Let’s write the next chapter of our story with God. Let’s set out on an adventure with him to see where he could lead and what he could make happen. Let’s see what new thing he wants to create within us! Oh, 2023 could become a story titled “The Ultimate Adventure”, or “The Life Changing Breakthrough”, or “She Never Looked Back”. Yes, it could, but what would a story like that require of you?
It would require you to live every day fully engaged, fully trusting, and fully moving forward. It would require you to take responsibility for your part in writing this story, and stop settling for this place of limbo along the way. It would require you to really believe God has a new thing for you and refuse to be held back by old things.
You can’t go back and change the story of 2022, it’s already been lived, but you can change the way you look at it. Here at the very end of the story, you can create a twist no one saw coming. A flip in the script that guarantees an exciting sequel.
Oh yes, it was a tough year, but she got tougher! It was painful, but in the end, she believed there was purpose in the pain. It was a freaking disaster, but deep within the mess there was a message, and she found it! Last page, you decide how this ends, Sis.
On January 1st, you wake up to a new chapter. On that day, you can step into the new year being offered to you by a mighty and gracious God, who has filled you to overflowing with potential, and you can decide you will live this story different! You will live it better. You won’t give up on it this time! You get to live 2023 knowing each day you are playing an active role in your story and it’s leading to a title better than you could imagine today!