Maybe I’m a cynic – scratch that, I AM a cynic – but I’m just not feeling the “New Year’s” hype this year. Every year, the first couple of weeks of January play like a broken record. The air is filled with all of the hopes and promises of the upcoming year. There’s something intoxicating about tossing out the old calendar and starting a fresh one. All of the bad mojo from the previous year is left behind as we embark upon a new journey….a new chapter in our life.
Unfortunately, too often, the new journey looks pretty much like the old journey did. You don’t change jobs. You don’t lose weight. You don’t write that book. You don’t take that trip.
Sorry, this isn’t your usual get-pumped-for-the-New-Year pep talk….
I’ve discovered, at least for myself, the BIG reason why so much goes unaccomplished in my life from year to year: FEAR.
Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of doing it wrong. Fear of looking stupid. Fear of sounding silly. Fear of falling. Fear of missing out. Fear of missing your mark. Fear of coming up short. Fear. Fear. Fear.
The irony is if I look back over my life…the ups and downs…I’ve accomplished a lot and overcome a lot. If God was able to get me through THOSE things, why don’t I trust him to get me through these up-and-coming things? It’s like I have amnesia or something….Very similar to the children of Israel.
The Israelites spent 400 years in Egypt; a large portion of that as slaves. Moses was sent to convince Pharaoh to free them. As they are fleeing they come upon the Red Sea. They immediately become fearful.
They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” (Exodus 14:11-12)
They make it across safely and Pharaoh’s men drown in the sea. They travel into the desert but have trouble finding water. More complaining: “So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, ‘What are we to drink?’ ” (Exodus 15:20). God made the nearby water drinkable. After 2 months in the desert, they are complaining again.
In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” (Exodus 16: 2-3)
So God’s gives them manna and quail (and basically providing every single meal for them for 40 years). Later in the story (Chapter 17) the come to another dry place and once again complain about not having water. And the story goes on with more examples of how the Israelis focus solely on their current problem or future challenges and fail to remember what God has sustained them through.
So as we leave the old year behind us, let’s not leave with all the things that God has sustained us through. Yes, the previous year might have been rich with challenges, disappointments, and obstacles, but you’re here to tell about it and that means something.