So, after the countdown and kisses at midnight, there are football games and parades to watch for fun, black-eyed peas and greens to eat for luck. New calendars are being hung on refrigerator doors.
This morning, I opened a new journal and carefully wrote “January 1, 2014” at the top of the very first page. But all the rest of the pages are blank. The days ahead are yet to be lived and so the story that will fill those pages is yet to be written.
It’s the same for you. Those pages—real or imagined— await your story. They are crisp with possibilities and yet-unseen opportunities. They are not yet marked with the rapid scribbles of joy or the slow scrawl of grief.
They will be filled with
love and rage,
certainty and confusion,
accomplishment and failure,
romance and betrayal,
faith and cynicism,
promises and disappointment,
hope and despair,
crowds and loneliness,
ordinary and abnormal,
wonder and boredom.
Those pages will be filled, because we will live. And as we simply live these 365 days, we will write the story of our lives.
What story will I tell with my life in 2014? What will your story be?
On the one hand, that question can be so overwhelming as to be nearly paralyzing. But then again, it is a lovely aspect of being fully human.
The God who created us men and women stamped a unique calling on our souls. “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Gen.1:27) We live our stories to display God— His reality, goodness, sufficiency, kindness, wisdom and mercy. God has “fearfully and wonderfully made” each of us and wrote in His book the days that were formed for us “before one of them came to be.” (Ps. 139:14,16)
Our Creator has a design and calling for our days on the planet. He is sovereignly writing our story.
And yet, that calling is more than a mere nod to human dignity and nobility. At the same time we are called, we are given real responsibility for our lives. “And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and the over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves on the earth’…. (Gen.1:28) God placed the man and the woman in the garden “to work it and keep it.” (Gen.2:15)
In other words, the story God means for us to live involves something for us to do. “So whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor.10:31)
To say that God is writing our story does not mean there is a (Holy) ghost-writer who does all the work in the background and we merely slap our name on the cover and call it our own. No, it means we delight to live and choose and act and relate and work and play and spend and talk and prioritize in a way that matches God’s heart and most fully displays His glory.
There is real sovereignty for God over our life stories and real choice, real responsibility, real accountability for us in the stories we live.
Do you see why we are so drawn to make New Year’s resolutions? It’s not about just being a better person or dealing with that troublesome issue once and for all. There is a deep ache in our souls to live the life our Creator has in mind for us. To live His story in our history.
Yes, your 2014 story pages may fill up with
losing weight and getting in shape,
getting a grip on your finances,
finding that special girl or guy,
finishing a long-delayed task,
taking the next step-in your career or education,
pursuing face-to-face relationships more than screen ones,
stepping into some brokenness of life on earth,
watching less tv and reading more Bible,
being bold with gospel conversations,
serving a gospel ministry here or with an unreached people in the world….
…but underneath it all is a soul-deep current of longing to become the person and live the story that God has for you in 2014.
So, how do we bring those wordless deeps into the pages of our stories, so that they last and change us— and we enjoy the story of our lives, no matter what comes?
BELIEVE that your heavenly Father is sovereignly in control of all things, loves you and is at work in your story for your good and His glory. (Ps.103:19, 1 Jn.4:16, Phil.1:6, Rom.8:28-39)
TRUST that your heavenly Father will help you and provide all you need for life and godliness— everything you need today, and in every moment, to live your story for His glory. (Ps.103:2-5, 20:7. John 15:5, Matt.6:33-34, 2 Peter 1:2)
OBEY your heavenly father’s Word and the promptings of His Spirit. It’s the only assured wisdom and place of guaranteed security. (Matt.4:4, John 8:31-32, 2 Tim.3;16-17)
DELIGHT in the extent of your heavenly Father’s gospel of grace. You will probably blow it this year. but His forgiveness and help in weakness is never the end of your story —it may be the loveliest part of it. (Ps. 103:9-14, John 21:15-17, Eph.1:3-2:10, 2 Cor. 12:9-10)
The blank pages will be filled with the story you will write this year. What will your story be? It may be romance, mystery, adventure, a quiet series of ordinary days— or a combination of all of them!
You will write that story and it does matter.
Do this: Believe God, trust God, obey God, delight in God.
And….relax. If you’re a child of God, Your heavenly Father has a Story you’re a part of. It’s a really good story, with a great ending.
So, go live— and enjoy —your 2014 story.