As the ball dropped in Times Square and we all toasted and cheered for the new year, I couldn’t help but think about New Year’s resolutions. I have never been very good at New Year’s resolutions. I always feel pressured to come up with something at the last minute and therefore it is never something I truly want to work towards.
Last year I chose a sort of abstract resolution to keep a song in my heart all year through. It was something that I kept in mind throughout the year and did indeed find myself singing songs of praise in my head and out loud throughout the year. There were even times when I felt I just had to find the perfect song of praise before going to work so that I could sing it silently in my head while I worked. I plan to keep it going into 2014 and beyond as I truly feel it lifts my spirits.
But what of a new resolution? As I tossed several ideas around in my mind, I wanted to choose something simple. Something that I could easily remember and reflect on. Something that would bring comfort, peace, and joy and would bring me closer to God.
I decided to choose one word that I could focus on for the year. One word to embody everything I was hoping for from 2014. After thinking it over for some time I chose Believe. Prior to Christmas I read an inspiring blog about the power of truly believing by Lara Campbell Patangan and it caused me to reflect on the word in more depth.
I know God has plans for us. I know His promises and love are true. I trust these things. I have hope because of them. But there are times when, despite the faith, despite the trust, I feel that I forget to believe.
Not that I forget to believe in God or in His love, mercy, and grace. Not that I doubt my faith or forget to believe in Jesus Christ and the sacrifice He made for us. No. It is much more subtle than that. It is the moment when you pray and pray and pray for something. You trust that God will take care of it. You have faith in His plan. But the without-a-doubt belief that your prayer will be answered waivers ever so slightly. The times when we cover up our momentary disbelief with the tag-along “Your will be done” at the end of our prayers, almost as if we are afraid to believe too hard and be let down.
Of course I know that just because I pray for something does not mean it will be answered the same way I envision or that it will be answered in the time frame I see fit. But sometimes I am so caught up in the details and planning of how my prayer might be answered, that I forget to just simply believe that it will be answered. To believe deep down in my heart and soul that YES God hears my prayers and YES He will answer them! God is all-knowing, all loving, all-powerful and I would be a fool to doubt His Almighty plan! I only need to believe stronger and stronger every day that He knows my heart and knows what is best for me and my family.
So this year my New Year’s resolution is simple. It is to pray to God for strength in my belief. I echo the prayer of the father found in Mark 9:24: “I believe; help my unbelief!” This year I resolve to worry less about the details of God’s plan for me and instead to simply believe with my whole body, mind, and soul that God hears my prayers and will answer them. How will they be answered? When? I do not know and I do not need to know. I only know that God will provide and the things that He has in store are far greater than anything my little mind could fathom. I need only to trust in Him. To have faith that He will guide my heart so that my life and my desires match His will for me. I need only to believe.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me” John 14:1 “So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24