The New Year is a natural time to reflect on the past year and consider how we want to live in 2013. Wouldn’t it be great to live in such a way that we don’t fear the future or regret the past?
Fear of the future comes from forgetting God, from imagining the “what ifs” and envisioning worst-case scenarios. Instead of expecting the worst, though, we should put our trust in God to provide for us no matter what happens. “This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike ‘What’s next, Papa?’” (Romans 8:15, The Message).
My friend Kristy recently told our Toastmasters chapter how she developed an “adventurously expectant” outlook. She spent a month praying the prayer of Jabez, asking God to enlarge her territory (1 Chronicles 4:10). As she prayed, she sensed God telling her to focus on the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). At the same time she became interested in making bracelets. First she made one with the word, “Love.” Shortly after she finished it she encountered a woman who needed a listening ear. At the end of their conversation, Kristy hugged her and gave her the “Love” bracelet. As she made a bracelet for each fruit in turn, the Lord brought someone to her who needed that particular virtue. Last she made a bracelet bearing the word “self-control.” She wondered if anyone would appreciate it; the Lord showed her that she should keep that one. She felt blessed.
We can learn to live as Kristy has—prayerfully asking God to make himself known to other people through us. We can awaken each morning thankful for the gift of a new day and eager for new challenges, watching to see how and where God will show up. Jesus said, “…seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness …” (Matthew 6:33). As we focus on seeking God’s kingdom, our fear of the future will disappear, replaced by eager expectation.