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Of snowstorms and New Year’s resolutions

SNOW,STORM

Tim Gouw | CC0

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson - published on 01/01/18

This year, I am not seeking resolutions so much as revelation.

I’ve heard to Yo-Yo Ma perform the Cello Suite No. 1 In G Major a thousand times, but this morning as a snowstorm silently raged outside, I bowed my head, closed my eyes and carefully considered its beauty. I listened.

Really listening with my full attention enriched the experience, but it also made me realize something.

Day by day, I plead and cajole God with entreaties for this need or that disappointment. I repeat the words of the Lord’s Prayer, so familiar that the words slide over my tongue without recognition of their meaning, as if I could move God if I said just the right combination of words.

But how often do I silence myself and really listen to God?

One of the most challenging verses in the Bible for me is this: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) I suppose this is because I like to be in control, or having the illusion of control. I have a difficult time “letting go and letting God.”

With the new year, I have to admit, doing things my way doesn’t work. It’s time for a new approach to the same old resolutions. This year, I am resolved to listen, in the hopes that it will help me to surrender and allow myself to rest in God’s peace. I want to learn to be still and experience God’s presence and learn to discern His perfect will.

I want peace as enveloping as the silent snow falling outside. Gentle, relentless, each snowflake so fragile, yet so powerful that I can hear the rumble of dynamite they use to move it.

That is the power of God in silence. So tender I don’t consciously experience it until I recognize its impression afterwards. Then I understand the waiting was not idle, but an active refinement by God upon my heart. Slowly, gradually creating my best self.

I can be God’s apprentice during this time. But I must open my heart to his direction, rather than my own instinctive bounce. I will wait, rest, and with an open heart, learn to see my life from God’s big picture perspective. I will listen.

Make us know the shortness of our life
that we may gain wisdom of heart. (
Psalm 90:12)

Writing out my goals has always been a part of my new year. Yet, I feel conflicted this year. As I ponder the why of my desire for resolutions but the hesitation to make yet another list of things, it occurs to me that this year, I am not seeking resolutions so much as revelation.

A resolution would be that I will lose weight, again.

A revelation is that I want to enjoy a long and active life made possible by healthy choices regardless of what I weigh.

The same principle applies to seeking God, while I wait for God, and listen.

A few years ago, I bought a Bible-in-a-Year and determined to read my way through it. I did, but honestly, other than a feeling of accomplishment, it didn’t help me achieve a closer relationship with God.

This year, my revelation is that I will stop doing spiritual activities as if they are rungs on a ladder climbing toward Heaven.

Instead, I will seek God’s presence in my doing of things. As I read my Bible, as I pray, I will seek God first. I will listen.

In this way, my activities will open me up to revelations, as they come, not bog me down with resolutions. There will be no disappointment, because no expectations are on me.

Like Saint Paul, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenlycall of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)

It’s not about resolutions, it’s about revelation. It’s not about waiting on God, it’s about being in the presence of God. And listening, always listening, in order to better know.

That’s all that matters.

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