A new year is a time of fresh beginnings. The clock strikes 12 and our problems disappear. New year, new you . . . right?
Not quite. On the heels of an incomparable year, many are entering 2021 wounded and weary. Others have seen many blessings. We’ve experienced grief and the sufficiency of God’s grace. And even when it doesn’t feel or look like it, we can look to Father God as the source of our hope by resting in the truth that He is on the throne.
In chaotic and confusing times, Psalm 138:8 is an anchor for my soul:
“The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me; thy mercy, O Lord, endureth forever – forsake not the works of thine own hands.” (KJV)
God’s “perfecting” refers to maturing, refining, and developing us to be who He called us to be. It’s a progressive journey with an open invitation to all who have breath in their bodies.
Here are three reflections to consider as you seek to live in alignment with God’s perfect will.
Prioritize Your Purpose. Before we were in our mother’s womb, we were known by God (Jer. 1:5). You were created with purpose—your reason for being—and possess unique gifts that are needed to help solve a problem on earth. Ask God to reaffirm your identity and how He wants to use you. Listen with an open heart and take the limits off what God can do. Write down what you hear, find confirmation in Scripture, and speak it over yourself daily to breathe life into your purpose.
Perpetuate a Kingdom Perspective. Psychologist Carol Dweck introduced the concept of the “growth mindset,” characterized by embracing challenges as opportunities to learn and grow. A Kingdom mindset—one where we intentionally place Christ in the driver’s seat—is inherently growth-oriented. God’s agenda is our transformation so we can effectively bring His Kingdom to our spheres of influence. When thoughts of fear, anxiety, doubt, and depression come, we can challenge them with the truth of Scripture and make them obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5).
Practice Patience. Patience isn’t popular. We want things to happen when and how we want. However, God establishes our steps in His perfect timing (Prov. 16:9). Waiting on the Lord is an opportunity to renew our strength, reaffirm our trust in His goodness, and access His peace. It also gives us space to develop the pace needed to sustain the demands of our purpose. Further, how we wait matters. Our posture should be one of humility and expectation while remaining faithful to the current season. He makes everything beautiful in its time.
I share these reflections not as one who has it all figured it out, but as someone who God is continually developing. Purpose, perspective, and patience are words I continue to hear as I seek to be obedient to His will. I hope it offers encouragement to you on your faith journey.
God’s perfecting is not about us taking on a spirit of perfectionism, but rather trusting that He is working all things together for our good (Rom. 8:28). And while the challenges of our past may still linger, they shouldn’t overwhelm us.
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; how it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
–Isaiah 43:18–19 ESV
May we be awakened to the new thing God wants to do in and through us, our families, our churches, our businesses, and our organizations, in the present moment.
Happy New Year!