Over the last week I’ve been reading people’s reviews of 2015 and anticipation of 2016 and I find myself looking forward as well. It’s interesting to me that I look forward to a new year because I recall last year not wanting a new year to start. To move from 2014 to 2015 was something I didn’t want to happen if I’d had the choice. For 2014 held Michael and it would be the last year he was present in. I didn’t want to move to a new year that he would have no part of. But, as usual, I had no say in the matter and life continued.
So, indeed, I’m a little surprised and a little proud of myself to be able to say that I do look forward to 2016 and all that it will offer. The prospect of change, while it still makes me a little nervous and rattled, doesn’t seem to strike fear or dread in me like it once did. So this is what I see in the coming year.
In 2016, I want to challenge myself to do some new things. I hope to read more, write more and get back into studying Scripture like I once did so faithfully. I hope to get back into leading a small group seeking to grow in their faith and understanding of God’s work and purposes. I don’t want or expect it to look like it once did. But I do want to get back to it.
In 2016, I want to travel to new and exciting places. Right now I have three trips on my calendar to places and events I haven’t been a part of before – some will be by myself and some with family and friends. I have some other ideas of things I’d like to do to stretch my wings and my comfort zone; I’ll let God show me how much and when I will be able to experience those things.
In 2016, I want to be healthier. It’s a daily, no hourly, struggle for me. I’ve gotten pretty good at being consistent with exercise, but it wouldn’t take much for me to sit on the sofa with a good book all day. Unfortunately I love food, in way too many forms. So I need to constantly keep myself accountable – and I’ve not been real successful at this. And for someone who is otherwise very healthy, I don’t want to neglect the opportunity to stay that way.
In 2016, I want to spend more time with my family. Of course, I have the most wonderful grandson ever – and I don’t want to miss so many important milestones in his life. But I also see the busy lives of my children and the many opportunities ahead of them in the coming years. I want to be there to help, to celebrate, to navigate and to love them through every change, move and twist that comes their way. And I want to deepen the relationships with my extended family as well.
In 2016, I want to be a better friend. I want to appreciate, celebrate and support each of the precious friends I now have. And I’m greedy – I want more friends to learn from and enjoy life with. With each passing month and year I feel more aware of our precious time together slipping away, and I don’t want to take that for granted.
In 2016, I want to love more. I want to be quicker to tell others that I love them. I want to be more open-hearted (is that a word?). I want to stop building walls and start tearing down some long-standing ones. I don’t want to pause because I’m shy or vulnerable or afraid I might get hurt. I want to love without hesitation, without judgement and without fear of rejection. I want to love like Jesus did. I want to love like Jesus still does.
Well, it looks like quite a list of things to look forward to. But I must tell you there’s more I’m looking forward to – beyond 2016. I’m looking forward to heaven. I’m looking forward to not being afraid of the things in this world. I’m looking forward to living in peace with those around me. I’m looking forward to being in harmony with those around me. I’m looking forward to an end to theological arguments and debating who’s right and who’s wrong. I’m looking forward to no longer being in competition with other believers because my church or their denomination is bigger, better, or holier than some other one. I’m looking forward to people cheering for one another and encouraging each other without jealousy or envy or any sense of satisfaction when someone else doesn’t succeed. I’m looking forward to no longer struggling with the demands of my flesh and my ego.
With God’s help, may some of the changes in my own life make earth look a little like heaven in 2016.