We use New Year’s Day as an opportunity to take stock. We give ourselves permission to think and feel, and to contemplate the bits of our lives. That’s fairly remarkable in a society driven to live at light-speed. It seems most of us resolve, not to necessarily embark on new endeavors as much as to apply a fresh application of ourselves to what already is.
Where I have lost view of pieces of my life, I seek to RE-view. Where I have lost a sense of my calling to a thing, I seek to RE-call. Where I recognize I’m lacking clarity I seek to RE-focus. Where I feel lethargic or detached I seek to RE-engage.
I’ve pondered and read these past days, stories of some of my Biblical patriarchs. What was Moses’s life like between the burning bush and the exodus; between the exodus and the promise-land? What was David’s life like between being anointed and becoming King? Or Joseph’s life, between his youthful dreams and the famine, poised to destroy the Israelites. How did these men steward the “in-between” times?
The truth is, the exciting memorable bits of most endeavors are attached to the beginning and the end of the thing. It’s the “in-between” that often doesn’t capture and keep my attention. That’s the harder part to steward, yet I am seeing afresh, that rightly tending to “in-between” is nothing short of paramount.
Whoever tends a fig tree will eat its fruit.
Two obvious and simple reasons surface for me. The first is, the substance of a thing is formed “in between.” And it doesn’t form as it’s meant to without intervention. You throw ingredients in a pot so you can eat stew later that day. It comes as no surprise that you have to tend that pot throughout the day. Not particularly fun or memorable, but essential if you want to eat.
As in water face reflects face,
so the heart of man reflects the man.
The second point is hand-in-glove to the first. HOW I apply myself, and the attitude of my heart AS I apply myself matters as much as that I apply myself at all. Without question, sometimes you simply have to grit your teeth and get a thing done. But it makes a world of difference to me and those around me when my heart is right as I do that thing.
In this new year, I pray that you and I, by stopping the train and giving God a chance to speak to us, will have a fresh orientation to the people and circumstances in our lives. We are marathoners, not sprinters, so the need to take stock and a willingness to shift accordingly will follow us the rest of our days.
Please Lord, let me apply myself with renewed purpose to all you have placed before me. 2017 is fully known to You. You ask for my hand, eager to walk me through every day of it.
Even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.