Here we are again. A sheet of paper with numbers 1 to infinity, listing everything we want to accomplish in the new year. I don’t know how many times I’ve written down the same old things, lose 20 pounds (now 40), run a half marathon (last year it was a full marathon). Nope, I didn’t accomplish that; but definitely finished a 3K. Of course, I must pat myself on the back for at least doing that!!! What are the other things? Oh yes, read more, refresh my skills in Greek and Hebrew, keep a clean house, plant beautiful flowers, sit on a beach, curve my wine intake (that one I may just have to give up on) and the list goes on and on and on and….well you get the point.
Advertisements from Weight Watchers are piling up in my email offering discount prices to join and Deepak Chopra and Oprah are sending me beautiful messages about how I can receive peace and harmony in the new year by purchasing their podcast for only $49.95. I do like Deepak, but I must not give in! I’m having an anxiety attack just thinking about what goals I should be writing down to accomplish in 2018! Seriously?! Don’t you hate people who seem to have it altogether?! Ok, hate is strong word! But they are so excited about the new year, have their black dress ready for the New Year Eve ball, their vision board all dazzled and placed in an area of their bedroom, sitting like a shrine to be admired, so that when they wake up every morning, it’s the first thing they see. Hmmm, come to think of it, that does seem doable. I’ll probably have panic attacks as to which corner of the vision board I should put the cutout convertible Mercedes Benz I see myself styling in.
Ok, yes, I can get through New Years Eve without struggling to put on a face that says, ‘2018 is my year, all the things I ever hoped for will happen because God says it’s MY TIME”. Oops! Nope! I can’t get through New Years Eve with a false perception of saying, this time it (whatever it is) will happen for me, this year. I can’t dance into New Years Eve without studying my failures from 2017, not loathing in them, but learning from them. I can’t dance into New Years Eve without acknowledging that my preparation for 2018 has been somewhat slacking. I especially can’t dance into 2018 knowing that 2017 has caused pain for those who didn’t have a place to lay their head, food to eat; knowing that 2017 brought weather disasters that left folks without power and water for weeks and still at the end of this year, there are still those without power and water. I can’t dance into New Years Eve with the accomplishment of self and with God so concern about my vision, that I don’t see God in the one that has lost their home; in the one that has lost their job; in the immigrant that is scared; in the child whose sexual identity is being threatened. Oh how I want to see through the eyes of God, to participate in the lifting up of humanity.
My prayer in 2018 is to live that God can use me. Not get caught up on trying to get to the next level….really never understood what that meant.
I like the prophet Habakkuk because I complain just as much as he does to God about the things happening in our nation. I get angry, kick and scream and yeah even cuss. I’m a good cusser! I really hate to say that….but hey I’m working on that….too. But this is how God response to the prophet’s complaint.
Then the Lord answered me and said:
Write the vision;
make it plain on tablets,
so that a runner may read it.
For there is still a vision for the appointed time;
it speaks of the end, and does not lie.
If it seems to tarry, wait for it;
it will surely come, it will not delay. (Habakkuk 2:2-3 NRSV)
I like especially the part where the Lord says make it plain so that the runner can read it. It’s not a vision that we only understand, it’s not a vision that we only get to carry, it’s not even a vision that we can only control. Of course, I’m having difficulty with “tarry” “wait for it”; but that doesn’t mean I get to be only concern about living it up in life while I wait for the Lord to deliver! Why is it that we don’t want to be the runner? I know doesn’t seem like a cushy job does it? There is still a vision, there is still a place where the runners must speak truth to power….there is still a vision where the runners must be the hands and feet of God; there is still a vision where God looks to use us to lift up this broken world.
Vision boards are good; getting into shape is good; reading and running a marathon, all wonderful things to do. And I will get to do those things and that should read half marathon….but I won’t make those the focus. There is something bigger, but it’s not for me alone. It’s not selfish or materialistic. It won’t make you rich or make you great! Love is strange like that. Sometimes you get nothing for it and other times you realize what you’ve been missing.
Let 2018 open our eyes to see each other in all our failures and successes. Let 2018 open our hearts to receive all of God’s creation. Let 2018 open our mouths to speak against the pain and hurt caused by an establishment of greed. Let 2018 open our ears to hear from God. Let 2018 give us courage to run the path of God because this won’t be an easy path, it never is. But I promise, it’s more rewarding than the convertible Benz. Are you a runner or just looking at your vision board?
I’m putting on my extra large black dress and I’m going to dance regardless, but after the party is over the vision is still there. Have a Happy New Year and make sure you keep your running shoes close by!