I finally took down my 2017 calendar yesterday and put up my 2018 calendar.
Finally... it is nearly the end of January. What took me so long?
Actually, there are two reasons. One reason is factual … the other is emotional. Are you ready for my defense?
First, let me give you the facts. Only the facts…
I was out of town for most of December and stayed out of town until the middle of January. When I left my home on December 9, I had not even begun to think about the New Year! I left my home entirely decorated for Christmas and was focused on gift-giving, on holiday menus and on seeing my precious grandchildren.
Who can blame a girl for that?!
Then, on my 2-day journey home in mid-January, I realized that I had forgotten to even buy my new calendars for 2018. I was concerned that all the ones I would have likely chosen were probably sold out.
You see … calendars matter to me.
Calendars matter to me very much. But I will get to that later –
So, in mid-January of this brand new year, I sat down at my computer to order two untouched yet beautiful calendars. One calendar will hang on my office wall and the other will grace my pantry door in the kitchen.
This is important stuff … so listen on …
I know many folks who are satisfied to only use a calendar on their phones, their pads or on their computers. Who are these folks, anyway?!
Who would dare exchange the artwork of an exquisite calendar for the boring black and white of technology?
I can’t do it. I can’t convince myself to create a Google calendar. Efficiency over beauty will never get my vote.
When the calendars that I had ordered finally arrived in mid-January, it still took me a day or two to make the great exchange.
This year for last year … 2018 instead of 2017 … New for old.
Opportunity instead of mistakes … promise instead of regrets … blessings rather than failures.
You see, the second and primary reason why it was difficult for me to finally change my calendars is because of the emotional process that I go through as I take a fulfilled calendar off its familiar nail and fold it up.
As I hold the dear, yet completed, calendar in my hands, I always ask myself, “Did you do it, Carol? Did you embrace each day of the last year with gusto and with enthusiasm?”
“Did you wring the joy out of every ordinary day? Did you listen for the Father’s voice in January … In March … and in August?”
“Did you forgive someone in February … in April … and in October?”
“Did you make a new friend in May … and in November?”
“Did you worship rather than whine in June and in July?
“Carol … did you celebrate in March as joyfully as you did in December?”
“Carol … did you live well every calendar day of 2017? Did you do it?”
I am not a person known for living in the land of regrets but I often do a much-needed self-examination as my precious and exhausted calendar is put away at the beginning of a new year.
I just want to make sure that I deeply treasure the life that I have been given.
I desire to fully engage in the rainy days … in the snow days … and in the days of unsurpassed beauty.
I long to discover beauty even in the midst of deep pain.
I don’t want to waste one minute of life that the Father has sweetly bestowed to me.
I am all in … for 365 days a year … for 12 calendar months … for 52 weeks … for 8,760 hours … for 525,600 minutes … for 31, 536,000 seconds.
I am all in, Lord.
And then, as my annual tradition continues, I gently place the used calendar into its bin with all of my other calendars for the past 20-or so years, my heart looks ahead to the sunrise of a new year.
Have you ever been on a road trip just innocently driving among semi-trucks, beside vans filled with families and rapidly passing Cadillacs commandeered by slowly moving grandmothers? It is when you are mired in the mundane of automobile travel that you might come upon a sign that declares, “Observation Point Ahead”?
You know me by now … when an observation point is pre-announced … I am that driver who inevitably will make plans to stop and gaze at the wonder of God’s creation!
It’s well worth the 5-10 minutes that it puts me behind in my travels.
When I place a new calendar upon the wall of my home, I must admit that it stirs up much of the same emotion as does that road sign that warns “Observation Point Ahead”.
When I stand at the observation point of pondering a beautiful and glorious new year, it literally takes my breath away.
I am in awe that the Father has entrusted me with 365 brand new days. What?! I get to live in the magnificence of 2018?
“You have given me another year, Father?! What is Your plan for my life during the next 12 months?”
And so, rather than fill the empty pages up with my plans and with my selfish preferences, I intend to give Him full control of the pen of my heart.
“Father, would You give me divine appointments in 2018?”
“Heavenly Dad, Who would you like me to love this year? Who would You desire that I forgive with compassion and that I am appointed to serve with kindness?”
“Jesus, who have I been designed to pray for this year?
And so, from this observation point of life, let me just declare for the world to hear that this New Year of 2018, belongs to Him alone.
My sole job this year is to partner with Him in building a life that pleases heaven.
My unbelievable assignment is to laugh more than I complain … to worship more than I whine … and to dance more than I plod.
My heaven-created destiny is to forgive beyond measure … to give without reserve … and to love with reckless abandon.
And I can’t wait for the journey! I am expecting with grand anticipation all of the unmatched adventure of life that will be lived during this year of 2018.
Will you join me in giving these days to the Father?
Will you join me in wringing the joy of out an ordinary day?
Will you join me as we craft a life at which heaven stands to its feet and applauds?
Thanks for listening to my heart this week. As you know by now, my heart is truly not a perfect heart but it is a heart that is filled to overflowing with gratitude for the life I have been given and for the people who walk with me. And, it continues to be a heart that is relentlessly chasing after God and all that He is!