THE FIRST OF THE YEAR 2014
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.” And he replied: “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than a light and safer than a known way.” ~Minnie Louise Haskins
I have been reading ‘Start with Why’ by Simon Sinek. The book’s main premise is that the primary focus for anything we do should not be WHAT or HOW, but WHY. It’s a principle with far more guarantee of success because when our WHY is paramount we can so much more easily innovate, develop, assist, enlarge, create, serve and change. The WHAT and the HOW flow directly out of the WHY, enabling our venture to succeed.
The WHY is what makes life worth living. It’s the WHY that makes us choose to change, to take great leaps of faith that no one else understands. The WHY enables us to serve, to lay down our lives, to make possible things that previously were not possible. It’s the WHY that harnesses potential to create new concepts and contexts, and to carve out of absolutely nothing the somethings that will transform the world’s way of doing things.
And so here I am at the Gate of the New Year, taking a leap of faith. Like Indiana Jones when the path across the chasm was invisible and yet he knew instinctively that it existed, I throw out my little pebbles of prayer and hope on the path in front of me, knowing that I can step out with confidence because the God I serve will not let me fall. Why? Because now it’s integral to who I am to go adventuring with God.
People on the observation desk of life freak out, as passive observers are apt to do, but those who are used to pushing the barriers with God wouldn’t have it any other way.
We’ve left the beautiful island that forms the nations of the UK, our home for 18 years. The decision to return to Australia wasn’t easy, but it was right. Many people thought we would never make the leap back to our homeland, a place that is so different to the land we left.
But we also are different. Our lives have been changed irrevocably. We are now citizens of the world, not just one nation. Although we love Australia, we are no longer bound by our Australianness. We’ve seen a larger picture, we have a different focus and our lives are no longer bordered by a love of just one nation and just one people. Our thinking is no longer cloistered or confined by the viewpoints of just one perspective.
We’ve seen and become one with people of many other nations, cultures and creeds. Our own comfort level is no longer the measuring scale by which we make our choices. Having seen a bigger picture we can never go back to life as it used to be.
God knows what He is doing when He takes His people into new experiences. We may think we don’t fit, can’t make it, shouldn’t go there – but He works His way in our lives and shows us where to change and how to change and why to change, and then, when change comes, we are transformed forever!
We are not elastic bands that stretch out to breaking point and then return to our original shape. Having been reshaped by and into the purposes of God, we are forever different. Thank God for that.
I always love New Year’s Day. It smacks of cleanness and freedom to be and do all the good things, all the great things, all the empowering things, all the magnificent things that are on our heart to do. As the year goes on, it’s a fact that it can get a bit grubby round the edges, sometimes pretty smeared even, but the real truth is that God works with us over and above our inadequacies and our feeble attempts to get it right and we look back on the year to see that some awesome things have taken place…because we followed the plan.
He always, always, always has a plan and wherever we are on the scale of things, whether we got the WHAT and the WHY confused for a while there, we can always start again, and it doesn’t even have to be New Year’s Day to do that.
One of the greatest things about my life, one of the things I love most, is that it’s such an adventure. I’m not bored. I’m not world-weary. My brokennesses haven’t disabled me so much that I can’t stick with God to follow the plan He has had for my life since before the foundation of the world.
He enables me every day, every week, every year. He gives me the energy to hang in there with Him so that when I at last go to meet Him face to face in Heaven, I will be totally empty. I want it to be that when my days are ended here and eternity begins for real, I will have done everything in the plan, with nothing left over, nothing unfinished.
I’m at the doorway of Phase 3 of my life and I can’t tell you how excited I am to see what God has in store. The opportunities and challenges before me are fantastic. I can’t wait to get going.
What is your WHY? Why are you alive? If you discover that, or discover it again, nothing will ever be the same.