I wonder what it is about an end of year that often activates my “self-evaluation mode” and uncannily spotlights unachieved goals …
This morning I picked up my prayer journal and, for no apparent reason, flipped back to December 30th– 31st 2017 and January 1st, 2018. How time flies! I reminisced as I went through the entries from my 2017 end-of-year retreat. It feels like yesterday when I’d inscribed, YESed, and AMENed all these promises. I’d been full of hope and expectations.
I stared long and hard at the blueprints on the white pages of my journal where, almost as though fulfillment depended on the beauty of my calligraphy, I had neatly engraved my divine promise and hashtag for the new year: “2018, My Year of New Beginnings”; “Behold, I am making ALL THINGS NEW.” #AllThingzNew
I skimmed through the notes from the New Year Eve’s church service, or should I say services. In my context, spending the last night of the year in church is big Christian tradition. We call it “cross over night.” We delight in starting a new year in the house/presence of God. Last year, I couldn’t make it to church on December 31st so I streamed the cross over night church services of Pastors Adeboye, Mensa Otabil and Dr Enenche … yes almost simultaneously😊. I “AMENed” and meticulously jotted down prophetic declarations like: this is my year of restoration, open doors, fulfilment, great possibilities, etc.
I also read through the January 1st 2018 sermon notes and lingered briefly on the Bible verse from which the sermon was drawn: 1 John 4:16a “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love.” Then I turned over to the next page of my journal where I had written down my goals for 2018. Scanning through, I recalled highlights like new ministry opportunities, financial and career breakthroughs, achieved goals and the several “God Things” I experienced through 2018. There’s no denying, God’s been too gracious!
I also recalled the lowlights – those moments when God threw me a curveball and I wrestled with His sovereignty. The death of a dearly loved one I’d desperately pleaded for God to heal; an unexpected news from a sister, the excruciating lonely paths I walked, stubborn health issues etc …
Overall though, I seem to be on track with my goals – growing spiritually and career wise; engaging new landmark investment projects. I ticked off these goals and smiled. Next on my list was emotional goals. Now, if you are thinking “Seriously? Who sets emotional goals?” Let me humbly submit that “I do” (oouuhh that almost sounded like a wedding vow lol). Emotional wise though! I scratched my head. Errr, nothing to write home about.
My first emotional-wise goal for 2018 was complete recovery from an “almost experience” 😊(details in a subsequent post). Secondly, I’d written that “marriage would be a blessing, but not as I will.” I know it sounds ambiguous and casual. I guess I was trying to play safe – not to raise my hopes too high for fear of a hard dash; not to totally cast-off hope, which is of great reward. An expectation with a mental reservation? Okay, who’s fooling who?
I paused to ponder what I meant by “marriage would be a blessing.” Before long, the blueprints blurred and faded as my mind went adrift, swifter than the Gulf Stream and further than I could resist – to December 2010, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 2016. Each of those years, I had written similar versions of the same goal regarding my emotional life: to queue into God’s perspective for my life regarding marriage, to meet my spouse, to get married, to settle down and have kids, to close this marriage chapter, etc., etc. I remembered the hopes I had nursed for each of those years which have all been repeatedly deferred.
My heart sank a little with the realization that yet another year is fading with this goal unchecked. There’s so much truth in Proverbs 13:12 – “hope deferred makes the heart sick.” It’s like what an author (Annie F Downs) wittingly described as a “mirage of the promised land that was actually just another lap in the desert.”
Suddenly, a Pandora’s box of questions opened: Did I trust God enough? Fasted/prayed enough? Was I discerning enough? Or worse, AM I ENOUGH? What am I missing? God! Are you even listening?
I then vividly thought about the many wedding bells I’ve heard competing with the Christmas bells this season and slightly irked that my bell lacked a clapper to make similar sounds. Or wait, does it really have to? I quickly realised I was drifting to a place where none should tarry. Why are you downcast oh my soul? Hope in the Lord, again and again and again. At that moment, I had to be intentional about detaching my joy from any blessing or the lack thereof. To be joyful, not because of what is or promised.
I know I must own my joy, but why don’t I always have a grasp on it like I want to? I still lack a roadmap for such momentary end-of-year mixed feelings and emotional dribbling. I still don’t always want to go home to my parents for the Christmas holidays, not just because I deeply enjoy quiet independence, but for a low-key apprehension for the dreaded question I wrote about in my first blog post (If you missed that, you can read it here). Also, I’m not exactly sure that I am always blessed by the all too familiar tempo of some December sermons. The likes of: “God can still do something [before the year runs out];” “trust God for an 11th hour miracle;” “don’t give up at injury time;” or “The God of the Suddenly.” No offense, but some sermon titles are, well…interesting. Being real here, not cynical – I do believe; help my unbelief!
So, yea, I confess that I did have one of those end-of-year pressure moments #NotImmune. I am learning to encourage myself in the Lord and to TRUST God’s Sovereignty. To remember that my life’s purpose is bigger than marriage and that there is surely a purpose to this “delayed” process; to be thankful for the gift of life and the hope for eternal life. But no, #IDontHaveItAllTogether. I am growing, gaining new perspectives and that, in itself, is HOPE. Life is a process, not an event. Sometimes “Behold I am doing a new thing” means “I am giving you a new perspective.” That, makes #AllThingzNew – just as God had promised at the dawn of 2018. BEHOLD-LOOK-SEE-PERCEIVE #PERSPECTIVE. For now, I SEE that I can always rely on the love God has for me – a love so unconditional it never FADES no matter how many years go by. #SoHelpMeGod!
What about you? Have you ever had a brush of sadness about things that seem to tarry while years fade? Still waiting for the fulfilment of a divine promise? Feel free to leave a comment here below or share this post with anyone who might relate. Don’t forget to follow me if you’d like to be immediately notified of new posts.
Since my next post will be in January 2019, allow me to wish you a happy new year in advance. Celebrate!!! May HOPE renew strength to keep on keeping on.
God Bless you.
The Christian Bachelorette