As I scroll through my social media feeds today, I've found a common theme: they are full of New Year resolutions, vision boards, weight loss challenges, one word themes and lists of goals. Every where I look, people are declaring what their year will look like and what is going to happen. The more I scrolled, the more I realized that the Lord was laying something entirely different on my heart.
This year, I'm giving up.
Before you write me off as a quitter, let me explain.
Lately, the prayer of my heart has been the same words that Mary, the mother of Jesus proclaimed in Luke 1:38: "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to Your Word." In order for me to live according to God's Word and truly be His servant, I'm going to have to lay down my plans and visions and hand them over them for His.
Lately, I've been studying the life of Abraham in Genesis. What struck me about his life (aside from His great faith) was his ability to surrender his life's plans to God. The Lord called him out of his country, his land and his family to a place that God would show him. Imagine all of the plans and ideas about his life that Abraham had to lay down into order to obey the Lord.
Most people don't want to surrender their plans and visions for their lives to God because they have everything already mapped out. But I'm realizing that even the grandest plans that I have laid out pale in comparison to what God has planned for me.
This year, I've been praying/asking the Lord: what are your plans for my life? I want to hear His heart for where He wants me to go instead of drawing up a vision based on my own heart's desires. Sure, I have prayers, goals and things I desire, but this year, I want to lay them all down in exchange for God's great plan.
I have a prayer scribbled in my prayer journal that sums up my heart for this year. It's by Betty Scott Stam. She was a young missionary, who later moved to China with her husband. (You can read more about them here.) The prayer she wrote says:
“Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes, and accept Your will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all utterly to You to be Yours forever. Fill me and seal me with Your Holy Spirit. Use me as You want, send me where You want, work out Your whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever.”
So for 2016, I'm giving up all my own plans and purposes in exchange for God's will for my life. When speaking to a group of young people about God's will, Elisabeth Elliot said "God’s will is always different from what they expect, always bigger, and, ultimately, infinitely, more glorious than their wildest imaginings.”
Here's to a year of giving up my plans and picking up the Lord's plans.