One year to review, another to preview

I’ve never seen the play “Rent”, yet I’m indebted to it because now I can sing that five-hundred-twenty-five-thousand-six-hundred more minutes of my life have come and gone (was I supposed to hyphenate all that??????). And now, I want to briefly reflect on this year and comment on a “resolution” for the year to come. What a year it has been!

Our first child was born. I’m a father, and my wife is a mother. We have a daughter. Our year could be summed up just saying this. The Lord has blessed us with a beautiful, healthy girl. Yes, I’m already wrapped around her finger. She’s brought such joy to our lives. I’ve not only enjoyed watching her grown and reach her various milestones (like army-crawling). I’ve enjoyed equally as much watching my wife mother our child. This has been such a humbling and encouraging thing to watch. She is really a natural. She is calm and patient. She loves that little girl, and it is quite obvious the little one adores her mother. All this happy talk should not give the impression our journey in parenthood is only been kicks and giggles. There have been tears, arguments, and momentary heart-stoppages. Yet, this year would be marked mostly by this: the Lord grated us a child, and what a joy she is!

I need another paragraph in which I mention the one major negative of 2013. My daughter’s arrival has revealed yet another sin rooted deep within my being. The Lord has used countless people, events, conversations, etc., to shine a spotlight into the darkest areas of my heart. My daughter has been a means of this exposure countless times already (and she’s not even a year old yet). What is the dark, deeply rooted sin? Anxiety. Yep, I called it a sin. It is. My anxiety, which can be crippling at times, is unbelief. Anxiety the likes which I deal tells me I don’t believe the Bible and its’ promises. My anxiety leads towards great fear as I play out the “worst-case scenarios.” It is not fun. Why do I include this paragraph? The death of anxiety is my desire for 2014.

I don’t want this anxiety anymore. I don’t want this unbelief anymore. I don’t want this distrust anymore. I hope 2014 will be a year in which my anxiety will decrease and my joy in Christ will increase. And, here is my strategy. It’s simple, actually. I plan to pray more. Not necessarily praying more on my knees, alone, early in the morning (though that should be true too). I mean constantly affirming my dependence upon the Father for all things, even peace in the midst of uncertainty. I’m not sure how I’ll quantify this, but praying more is one means towards accomplishing this goal. Praying more, by the way, might mean playing on my toys less (or, in other words, being less distracted). I don’t have to read about 80 books in a year (as I learned today Tim Keller does). I need to focus more on Jesus. Second, I have identified a few portions of Scripture which I plan to memorize. A few Psalms, as well as material from the New Testament (like portions of the Sermon on the Mount). I’ve experienced enormous fruit from the portions I have memorized. Why I haven’t memorized more could simply be chalked up to laziness.  With these two basic plans, I hope my anxiety will lessen as I decrease and Jesus increases (John 3:30). I believe it will. Simply put, I think I think I’m more important than I am. In reality, I’m not as important as I think I am and I know Jesus is more important than I could ever imagine. 

There it is. A brief review of one year and preview of another. Our daughter is a great joy, a truly good and perfect gift from God above (James 1:17). My daughter is also a mirror reflecting a portion of my soul in desperate need of the Great Physician’s touch. This coming year, 2014, will be a year where anxiety is in the cross-hairs.

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May he make is face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord turn his countenance on you, and grant you peace. (Num. 6:24-26)

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