by Jacqueline J. Holness
The dawn of the New Year is the most action-oriented part of the year.
If you weren’t inundated with headlines like these as January 2018 began, you weren’t paying attention: “How to Make (and Keep) a New Year’s Resolution” from The New York Times, “How To Work With Your Doctor On Healthier Goals For The New Year” from NPR, “The Reset Button Awaits in 2018 to Achieve Our Dreams” from Newsday and many, many, many variations.
These were everywhere as December ended and January began. And rightfully so.
A new year is downright magical. Unlike the days of the year already past, there are no templates that you can use to control a new year.
A new year is a runaway chameleon—it can morph itself into a season of splendor, a duration of doom, an interval of impact, and everything in between. And what is the best way to catch a reptile? Any way you can, in my unprofessional opinion. There is no time for reaction. Action is your best weapon in your new year arsenal—supposedly.
We don't have to chase time.
But what if you acted last year and nothing changed with your resolutions? What if you made a list of goals for last year and the most significant ones on the list have yet to be achieved? What if your New Year’s dreams from last year are still just dreams?
Your chameleon was seemingly a spell of slackness that refused to respond to all of your actions.
Waiting Is Action
That’s where I am today as I write this, at the dawn of 2018: although many of my resolutions, goals, and/or dreams were thankfully accomplished through the power of God, two of them—a major professional goal and a major personal goal—are as undone as a toddler’s shoelaces.
But I’ve been here before. So I know what action I need to take, and it may help you too. I propose that we W.A.I.T. Or, as I like to say, Work At Ignoring Time.
Waiting is a form of action. Check out Isaiah 64:1-4. I won’t rehash the entire passage, but verse 4 is pretty powerful: “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.”
This verse means that when we wait on God, His power is unleashed. We don’t have to chase time or be bound by a list of resolutions, goals, or dreams because the omnipotent Creator of this universe is boundless. And I’ve found when I try to “help God” along instead of waiting, I end up further away from resolutions, goals, and dreams.
One of the best biblical examples of making a situation worse by human action instead of God acting on our behalf is the story of Abram and Sarai. In the book of Genesis, God told Sarai that she would be a mother. But as new year after new year dawned without her becoming a mother, Sarai decided to act. She offered a household worker, Hagar, to her husband. Hagar gave birth to Abram’s first son, Ishmael. Sarai eventually did give birth to Abram’s second son, Isaac. While it may seem like a happy ending with two sons rather than only one, generational conflict was created between the two mothers and the two brothers as a result of that one action.
God reminded me of this story when I decided to act on my own behalf in 2016 regarding a professional goal that is still left unachieved at the beginning of 2018. Although I acted in an inconsequential way (I thought, anyway), I’m still feeling the consequences of that action today. Regarding my personal goal, it is still undone as well, although it feels like I’m creeping toward completion.
My inaction is God’s action.
I’m reminded of a blog post I wrote almost a decade ago on December 31, 2008 entitled “Hope.Wish..Pray…” I had two goals then also—a professional and a personal one. And for all of my hoping, wishing, and praying, I didn’t feel any closer to my dreams. Below is an excerpt.
For today, I have decided to hope, wish & pray that my dreams will come true…According to the Word, you are to “delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 When I first read this verse years ago, I thought it meant that God will give you whatever you want if you serve Him. I know that’s not true now. Now I believe that if you come to know the Lord in an intimate way, He will guide you to your true desires—that is He will give you the desires He has for you. He will guide you to your God-given destiny. So over the years, God has shown me what are my false desires and what are my true desires.(I no longer desire to date a man from every continent, ha,ha, for instance.) Anyway, two dreams or two desires remain…at least for today. Well, that’s not true. I have more than two dreams, but I am thinking of two in particular…(What dreams do you think I am referring to? Guess?)
I had two dreams then: Get a Book Published. Get Married. Years, yes years, later those dreams came true in 2012 and 2013, respectively. And here I am again, on another New Year’s Eve with two big goals that I’ve been working on since 2013. As of now, nothing yet.
But I W.A.I.T., knowing that my inaction is God’s action.
posted on January 31, 2018
Meet the Author:
Jacqueline J. Holness, a member of Central Christian Church in Atlanta, is a correspondent for a national news service. Read more on her website (afterthealtarcall.com).