It’s 2016! I know that everybody’s Facebook newsfeed is filled with greetings and cheers, photos of fireworks and sparklers, lots of food and extravagant celebration. Of course it’s a huge festivity, and we want to celebrate all the accomplishments and successes of the past year, and move forward to a bigger, better one.
Phrases and sayings like, “Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016!” or “New Year, New Life” have infiltrated the home page of all my social media accounts. And I wonder what these really mean to them.
(Heads up: This going to be an “I” post so bear with me.)
When I woke up this morning and reflected a bit on how I’m going to face this year, and how to plan it out basically, this phrase just hit me right away: Renew your mind. I remember it being drawn from the Scriptures, which goes, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Renew your mind.
This verse can be explained, deliberated and integrated in many ways, I believe. But one thing is certain: it’s making that conscious effort to renew your thinking, to change your perspective of things; trash the old and/or ugly way your mind works, and start again, start afresh.
But I believe that there is nothing you can do perfectly or excellently without the help of our Lord. I think it is Him, His Holy Spirit that will do the job of “renewing” us from the inside out by seeking Him, listening to Him, communicating with Him, obeying Him, collaborating with Him, and always sticking with Him in all sorts of season.
2015 has been the toughest year so far.
Even up to the last few hours of it, challenges have simply punched me in the face, and on all sides of my body. It was consuming, it was tiring. I was in distress. I was exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally. It was awfully hard.
But one thing keeps me up and fighting: it’s God’s grace. My hope does not run out because I have it, I understand it. Even if I am not deserving, I have been graciously gifted with that.
I just had to keep reminding myself that despite the ugly, unpleasant things around me, I have a God who loves me, cares for me. I do not need anyone’s approval. I do not need anyone to define me, characterise me or validate me.
His grace is enough.
My Father’s love is enough. The identity that Christ gave me is enough.
I am saved. I am loved. I am a citizen of heaven. I am His. And nothing, NOTHING can ever change that.
I know we live in a very challenging world; we are exposed in a battlefield everywhere we go, and there’s already a grand one situated inside our minds. It is not hard to get blinded, to get derailed, to get lost. We are naturally weak, and we got to recognise this inherent flaw.
I am not gifted with a strong character, or a tough heart. I think everyone who knows me knows that. I would need so much support, encouragement and nourishment so I can build a stamina, some sort of defence mechanism. And I would need a lot of time to soak them all up.
One of the best things happened to me this year. I have developed the courage to come face to face with all my weaknesses amidst the adversities. I have learned how to look them in the eye, and identify them one by one and even provide a name for each one. I have tried my best to study how each one comes into existence, grows, and dies, or even resurrects.
And while I’m being pressed down, tortured and strangled by these things, I’ve found myself in a place where I am in need of some big time saving. I became more desperate for God, more thirsty for His presence and help. I would always be stuck in some way, and would always cry for rescue.
And in all those tribulations, I believe that God has never left my side. He has truly become my strength, a strong protective shield. I have always run to him for peace and comfort, which He has generously offered.
I have come to know Him, and got closer to Him on a different level.
I have recognised and accepted like never before that without God, I am nothing. I am no one. I am trash. That without seeking His grace and mercy, I am in complete destruction. Without Him, I am helpless–I am hopeless.
Christ is Hope.
This hope does not run out. This hope is abundant. This hope is available to me 24/7, and is only waiting for my go signal. This hope works. This hope revivifies. This hope renews. This hope sustains.
And so my battles continue this new year. Perhaps, we can say that there might be nothing new in the environment I’m living in, or in the situations I’ve got myself into. I have no control whatsoever in any of these things.
But I have control over my mind.
I have control on how I would react on these circumstances.
I have control on what direction I’d like to steer my vehicle to.
I have control on when to say what, and why and how.
And when I lose any form of control or direction in my body, I know that there’s one that will remain constant. One that will cancel out the noise and clear the skies ahead. One who will breathe life and bring light to my pathways. One who will remind me what I am, who I am, and where I am bound to go.
My Maker. My Captain.
As long as I have the ability to think properly, change and declutter my thoughts, I am hopeful and I am sure that my God will remain faithful and He will never let me down.
He has amazing plans for me. He has changed me and continues to refine me.
The assurance of His love is all I need to face the days to follow. I will remain grounded in that, and wait on His presence.
I will listen and allow Him to take over, and become Messiah in all aspects of my life as He’s always been.
So, to whoever’s reading this, partner with God this year, and see how things will change. Well, the may not, but you will!
Here’s to the new year!