With 2019 being just around the corner, a lot of us start dreaming and planning for the next year. Some of us create a list of resolutions, others write all of their dreams down, and yet others write a list of goals. All of these things are good. It’s good to be intentional about where one is going.
But spending a lot of time thinking about what you want to happen in the next year and trying to define your goals can make you feel anxious and even sick to your stomach. You may lose sleep over feeling the pressure to have your entire year figured out now.
But the truth is, we do not have to have it all figured out for the next year. It’s actually good if we stay flexible with our goals. The Bible says:
“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”” (NKJV, James 4:13-15)
So first and foremost we should be seeking to do God’s will for the next year. But God usually reveals only the next step to us or gives us a general picture of what is about to happen. All the details usually fall into place later, as God wants us to depend on Him daily. So it is important to stay flexible with the goals we set and be ready to respond to God’s calling if He wants us to change our direction.
The other reason why we do not need to be anxious about the future is because we have a God in heaven who hears our prayers and loves and cares for us. The Bible says:
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” (NLT, Philippians 4:6)
Instead of being anxious about the future we should ask God for what we need. Whether you need a job, or you need to decide what you are going to do after college, or to which college to apply. Ask God for wisdom, provision, and guidance! We have a loving Father in heaven who cares for us.
Some of you may be in a season of life where you cannot really set many goals. Maybe you are a stay-at-home mom of little children and you are already living in survival mode. Or you might be someone who is struggling with health issues and doesn’t have much energy for goals other than getting healthier. That’s okay. You don’t have to feel the pressure to set all these goals and resolutions for your life if that’s not what would fit you or your family in this season. The Bible says:
“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”” (NLT, Matthew 11:28-30)
If there is one goal all of us need to set for this coming year, it should be sitting at the feet of Jesus. It doesn’t have to look a certain way. It could be as simple as praying as you are going through your day. Or as simple as listening to the Bible as you are doing your chores.
But if you are in a place where you can spend even a short period of time alone with God, then I would really encourage you to do so. It could be at any time of the day, though I prefer mornings, where you just pull out your Bible and maybe a journal. So you can read the Word and pray every day to reconnect with God.
There are many Bible plans you can find online and a lot of free apps for your phone to track your progress through the Bible. I like to use the YouVersion Bible app on my phone, which offers many different Bible translations in different languages as well as an audio version of the Bible. I am also thinking of creating cute little cards with Bible verses to be more intentional about memorizing the Word this year.
Have you already found a Bible plan or decided on how you are going to study the Bible in the coming year?