When your new year already feels old…

She says it, this friend over lunch, and I’ve lived it, how January isn’t half spent and all the resolutions a complete bust! A failure less than ten days into the new year. And it’s enough to give up, to scream for a do-over and stay under bed covers for a week because you are not lying to yourself that each day of the new year will start to feel a little old and more like ground hog’s day every day of your life.

But then there’s this seed of sanity that’s been germinating, that suggests we are more than the lists we cross off, the expectations we fall short of, the goals tossed to the winter wind and I remember this wise woman who’s been there before and done it again. She’s saying to those listening, desperate for what to do with up ended lives, that when the way isn’t clear, the present murky, what we really need is to just do the next right thing. Lean into the spirit’s nudge and simply feed the family, comfort a hurting heart, take a nap, pour a cup warm, pay the bills….  It’s in doing the little “next right things” that a soul learns it’s not so much about the big picture, but about being faithful in the small.  It’s the courageous ones who face day’s drudgery focused on obedience not results; who know that every artist paints a masterpiece one small stroke at a time.  Oh friend, I know too well the days stuck painting away the tedious landscape strokes that set the background of life.  The picking up one more sock unmatched, scraping pots clean and the never-ending laundry that piles. I’d rather play for the crowd, do that which would be noticed…applauded. Be the perfect model mom and Christian wife. To seek fame instead of humility.  To compare and contrast haves with the have-nots.

I also know that emptiness sets in when stage lights go dark and I am left with the unseen, unremarkable, unnoticed and it’s then one comes to realize that the stuff of life is composed of the insignificant and that as we are faithful in the next right tasks we hear “well done” from our Father who sees each plodding step forward. He is cheering us on with celebrations and affirmation along the way, joy awaiting with each new hurdle. Haven’t arrived yet? That’s ok…me  either. But let’s keep walking this journey, baby steps friend, and we can rest assured that just like the weak are strong, the poor rich in the kingdom of God, he has greater and bigger offerings in store for us the trustworthy managers over the seemingly trivial. So for now, and perhaps until glory, my New Years resolution?

Faithful in the small.


6 thoughts on “When your new year already feels old…

  1. I understand the feelings of wanting to be strong witty and the perfect wife and mother.
    In reality I am dealing with a chronic illness, often lose it , feel week and scared. My real strength would be to read more about following the Lords word and realize that
    living another day and progress in baby steps is success in living with the new year!

    • Martha (*big smiles, warm hug*), saying amen with you and taking the courageous step forward into the small with you. May God guide our steps, give us wisdom in the next right tasks.

  2. Love this, Joanna…You are an amazing writer, artist, mother, and wife….May the Lord continue to Bless you and Keep you as you are faithful in the small.

  3. There have been times when my “next thing” was just walking across the front yard to the car. That was as far as I could get in my submission to God’s will in my moment. In 2013 that walk was often raw obedience and something I felt didn’t have strength or desire for. That walk was to the car on our way to surgery, chemo, or some other “procedure” I had no desire to “attend.” I began to see those steps to the car as my testimony of trust.

    • Beth, Simply beautiful this surrendering of yours. Thank you for sharing. Touching testimony of trust growing in the small faithful steps.

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