Looking Forward

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? I don’t. I just don’t like them.

I probably made resolutions when I was younger, but I would have only done so because resolutions are something we’re always told we’re supposed to make at New Year’s. Don’t get me wrong, I do have dreams—BIG dreams baby—but I’m not a real goal-setter type of person. Besides, I almost always leave my grocery list at home, why would a resolution list be any more important than buying food for my family?

I do usually know the direction I’d like to go and start heading that way. Once I see something to aim for, I’m usually determined, persistent, patient or just ignorant enough to get there. But set-in-stone goals seem very confining to me and the last thing I want is more constraints in life. I need room to move, to breathe, to wait, to think, and to change paths if I need.

However, if I were the type of person who did make resolutions (more of a wish list really), right now, at this very moment, the list would look something like:

  • I would like to be able talk again in the new year. My voice disappeared somewhere between going to bed Christmas night and waking up on the 26th. I have been mostly whispering since then. The voice is making a comeback, but still not quite right. I may not always like to talk all that much, but it’s very frustrating to not be able to.
  • If I NEVER see another doctor or hospital again, it will not be soon enough. I’m tired of it all.
  • World peace — shmirled peace. I’d settle for our two young daughters to stop bickering even half as much as they do these days. Seriously world-peace-wanna-havers, do you live in a house with other people? Good luck with seven billion of us.
  • During the upcoming election cycle, I do not want to see or hear any kind of political advertising whatsoever. Don’t call my house and stop telling me about the demon spawn you’re running against.

That’s a small sample of the things on my mind that I’d like in the coming year. And now you can see why resolutions don’t work for me—the list is filled with things not in my control. I hear that achievable is really key to accomplishing goals.

I suppose I could make a list about reading books, running a marathon or other work-oriented, achievable goals. I’m not at all saying that those are bad things. I envy people who set goals and accomplish, in a timely manner, all that they set out to do. It just seems that when I have set a goal “out loud”, life has had a way of stepping in and changing the course in ways that I usually don’t like. As a result, I often tend to keep my real dreams close to my heart and go after those things like a spy on a secret mission. It’s actually more fun for me this way and I always did want to be Nancy Drew-ish.

However, after all that nay-saying, there is one thing that my husband and I have agreed on and are determined to do: move forward—look to the future, stay out of the past. There is a story behind this and I’ll probably write about it at some point, but it’s not time yet. I’m sure we’ll hit some bumps on our road to the future, but as long as we’re facing forward together, encouraging one another, we can keep going.

Moving forward doesn’t mean that we never talk about things from our past. To be honest, I’ve been a little surprised by some things that have recently popped up through the cobwebs of my memory. It’s just that we simply cannot allow the difficult things we’ve been through have a stranglehold on us anymore. There’s no way to have a good life in the present or the future if a person’s past is in control. It’s a trap that holds too many hostage.

Unfortunately, the past is also one of those things that can never be undone. Despite that little fact, the Lord can take it and turn the ugly parts into something useful, and perhaps even something beautiful. We only need to learn to submit, look to Jesus and agree to put it all into His hands. I could be wrong, but I tend to believe He often honors our “want to” in this area. Then maybe one day we’ll be able to look with appreciation at our scars as a symbol of God’s amazing faithfulness. It’s all about which direction we are looking.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14

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