December 31, 2010


"instead of telling our young people to plan ahead, we should tell them to plan to be surprised." "dan in real life"

new year's day. a day of black-eyed peas, turnip greens, and hogjaw. a day without fast food, chocolate, or coke. a day of stepping on the scale to survey the damage. a day of a revised budget. a day of a brand new schedule. a day of renewed energy, new promises, and a thousand plans. a day of resolutions that will be forgotten or ignored in only a matter of weeks.

i've only kept one new year's resolution in my life. it was the new year's eve of my sophomore year of high school when my dear friend chris uttered the following words: "charissa, i dare you to go an entire year without chocolate." at this point in my life i was an avid chocoholic averaging one or two candy bars a day, but as my stubborn nature would not allow me to refuse a dare, i said, "you're on." after a year and three days, terrible withdrawal, and nightly dreams about chocolate, i met my resolution. and what did i learn after demonstrating such discipline and self control? new year's resolutions are terrible ideas.

more and more in my life, i'm realizing that besides controlling my chocolate intake, little else is under my control. despite my best efforts at planning, the course of my life is constantly taking more different directions than i could have ever engineered. and i am constantly being reminded that i don't make the rules, write the script, or know the answers. there are forks in the road. the plans change. and sometimes you're simply left asking, "why?"

this new year is starting out differently than any new year i've ever had. tomorrow at 11:00 i won't be eating lunch with my family or hanging out with friends. i'll be at the funeral of a friend who died on monday at the mere age of 24. after fighting a disease for a year and a half in which the end looked hopeful, a sudden yet gradual turn of events took his life. i cannot count the number of prayers i prayed for him in that amount of time, nor can i count the number of tears i've cried in the past few days. but i know that his death is a reminder that life is short and out of our control. no matter how well we design the course, we simply don't steer the ship.

we young people are constantly under the pressure of planning. of choosing the right college. and finishing college in exactly 4 years. of choosing the right spouse. and just in the right amount of time. of choosing the right career. and finding the perfect big city in which to live. we're asked to be certain in a world full of uncertainty. to feel secure when only one wrong step breeds insecurity. and to simply answer the questions in front of us instead of questioning the answers.

therefore, this year my new year's resolution is to resolve...absolutely nothing. to not even begin to create a list of items that will only be discarded. to make no absolute plans. to make no false promises. to not guarantee the success of anything. but instead to seek and trust a higher plan.

instead of making GOD laugh by telling HIM my plans, i'm choosing to laugh at the surprises HE throws my way. instead of praying for a little tool set to create my ideal, little path, i'm asking for GOD to use HIS power tools to evidently reveal the path. and instead of limiting GOD'S power and impact in my life, i'm setting HIM free to do HIS best.

my 2011 belongs to GOD as every previous year up to this point should have. it's going to be out of control--my control. it's going to be about the fearless and reckless pursuit of a plan created by the only ONE who has the vision and foresight to see where the path actually leads. to involve daily prayer for the will of the ONE who truly knows what's best. and to fully let go and fall wherever the WIND may blow.

and while i should feel totally insecure and uneasy about resolving absolutely nothing, i feel completely peaceful and totally resolved. in a world full of uncertainty and at a time of such infinite possibility, i can only be sure of one thing: the LORD has a will, and i have a need to follow that will, to humbly be still, to rest in it, nest in it, fully be blessed in it, following my FATHER'S will.

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