Entering a new year means turning the page on what was and pressing into what is ahead. Entering a NEW year for many means NEW goals, objectives and projects. A new year symbolizes a fresh start, the opportunity to begin again.
I admit it, I am hesitant to enter a new year.
Whether I like it or not, tomorrow 2020 comes. If you asked me a few months ago I was charged up about 2020. I would be the first to say 2020 will be a year of clear vision (pun intended) and a year of excitement, energy, it seems like “things” are going to start happening. There was a sense of urgency to get to the new year.
Like a lot of business people, I typically spend the last two to three months of the year reflecting on the current year goals and objectives and outlining where to focus, and how to grow the organization, and my staff for the following year. What should be important? How should our resources (time, talent and finances) be directed and measured.
However, sorrow’s fog over my recent past was cause for the “normal” process for planning, strategizing and organizing 2020 to be woefully unmet. For the first time in probably fifteen years I am walking into a new year with no plan, no strategy and no goals. If there was a panic button, I could push to eliminate my worry and allow me the clarity of thought, I suppose now-ish would be the time to push it.
So how will tomorrow begin without a plan? What will I take with me into 2020? How would I answer the question, “what should be important to me in 2020?”
I have no plan, but I have a testimony. I have no goals, but I will testify of the God’s goodness to me. I have no strategy for my future, but I have a history with God that tells me to not be afraid because walking with Him is all the strategy I need for where he is taking me. I will take my testimony into 2020.
A new year does not require me to forget the past. In fact, the more I share my testimony regarding the past the more strengthened my faith becomes because my testimony serves as a reminder of all that God has done. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Grace. Mercy. Hope. Joy. Peace. Comfort. Family. Friends. LOVE. Husband. Children. Home. Food. Clothes. Opportunity. Favor. Abilities. Strength.
As I enter 2020 without a plan, but armed with a testimony, I wonder, what if the testimony is the plan. What if as I share, the plan unfolds? What if I stop being upset at myself because I have no plan and instead stand firm in gratitude to God for what He has done? Who am I to question God’s timing? Who am I to question God’s reasons? Who I am to wonder how he will move the mountains before me?
But I do. I question. I like having a plan, because it comforts me when I am tired of living by faith. OUCH. That was honest. And that truth hurts.
I am not saying that planning is bad, I believe it is prudent, but for me, my plan has gotten in the way of my testimony. My plan has gotten in the way of putting my trust and hope in God alone. I have put my plans before God’s purpose. I have put my plans before my calling. I have clung to my plans like truth, seeking safety in an x-matrix and key performance indicators.
Taking my testimony into 2020 means I am actively and purposefully taking my eyes off me, my abilities, my plan and my key performance indicators, and putting all that focused attention onto God. What are the key performance indicators for God based on my testimony? He was faithful, loving, gracious, and so much more in 2019. He is a God who never changes. And so, he will be in 2020. I base my year on this truth.
It is my testimony that makes the facts of his character come alive for the next generation, and for me. A testimony is an account of how the God of the Bible moves and works still today. My testimony is proof that I can again put my hope and faith in God because he was worthy of my confidence before, he is worthy of it again.
Psalm 78:2-4 says, “I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old—things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us. We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.”
How will people know? How will the next generation know of God and of all he’s done, unless I tell them? Again, it becomes evident that my testimony is not about me, but about God working in and through an imperfect woman to demonstrate His character so that the next generation may hear and believe. The next generation will hear and believe until they have their own testimony for them to remember and continue to believe.
The New Year can be heavy laden with the guilt of a need for a resolution. What are we going to do better than we did last year? I just wonder how different our year may be if we took our eyes off ourselves and placed our focus on Jesus. What if we start 2020 not by seeking a new resolution (that 90% of us fail within the first 8 weeks) but to be restored in Christ? What if we focused more on what he will do, instead of what we will do?
If you find yourself at the end of 2019 with no plan and no strategy, let me reassure you that you are not starting 2020 without purpose. God has a purpose for you, even if you don’t know it yet. God’s plans are so much larger than we can even begin to imagine. May we find rest knowing that he still has a plan. His plans and purposes will prevail.
If you, like me, have no plan or strategy for 2020, may I encourage you to spend time over the next couple of days reflecting on how God restored, redeemed, healed, blessed, comforted, clothed, fed and strengthened you in 2019. What good works can you point to that God did in your life last year? How did he grow you and your faith?
A couple days ago, I was mind was frantic, my heart felt a panic because I had not taken time to come up with a plan. But as I sat in prayer, and in scripture asking God what he wants me to focus on for 2020 repeatedly and it became clear that it is about testifying of His goodness. 2020 is about clear vision, but a clear focus on who God is, what he has done and therefore what he will do.
I walk into 2020 with only my testimony in hand. I walk with perhaps greater clarity than ever because its not about me. My testimony is about God. And 202 is my time to testify. Will you join me in testifying of God’s goodness in your life?