Psalm 37:3 Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
“The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.” ― G.K. Chesterton.
Today marks the beginning of a new year. Time to wipe the slate clean and start afresh. I have many goals this year. I want to get in shape physically. I want to be loving to my wife and family. I want to be diligent in pursuing my vocation as a writer and a Faith & Mental Health Advocate. Most importantly, I want to grow spiritually to follow Christ wherever he leads me.
Some time ago, a pastor friend recommended that I choose a Scripture word to reflect on and carry with me throughout the year. Whenever I felt pulled off course, I could come back to this and regain my focus. From 2014-2019, the word has been “delight” and Psalm 37:4 has been the verse that has shaped my days. I believe God has given me the desires of my heart, to the extent that is best for me. Now it’s time to move to the next verse and select a new focus word.
Psalm 37:5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
Commitment. It is not something that comes easy for me. I struggle with consistency. Part of this is due to my mental illness. I never know what I am capable of. When I am manic, I make big plans for what I will achieve. Then, when I crash, these fall by the wayside. I often feel torn between not making resolutions at all and stretching for high goals in spite of my condition. By the grace of God, I was able to accomplish much in 2019 that made a difference in the lives of others.
- I stood beside my wife during the terrible ordeal of brain surgery.
- I reached out to others in my position as Faith & Mental Health Advocate.
- I completed a draft of my second book.
I have made a number of commitments in 2020, such as:
- Guide my book into publication.
- Lead a Sunday school class on walking alongside someone with mental health struggles.
- Support my wife as she resumes consulting, teaching, and supervising.
I know that if I am to do these things, I will need to devote myself to robust spiritual disciplines, beginning with prayer and Scripture reading. But not ending there — also flowing to worship and small growth groups. Without such faith exercises, my cup will run out. The Enemy will swoop in and sap my strength live up to my commitments. This will jeopardize my love for God, myself, and others.
This is my fear, but I also have faith that it doesn’t have to be this way.
Let’s make a covenant to pray for each other so that we might live up to the commitments that will help up walk in the light of Christ.