As we enter into the new year, I am oddly reminded of Ecclesiastes:
Ecclesiastes 1:2-4; 9
2 It is useless, useless, said the Philosopher. Life is useless, all useless. 3 You spend your life working, laboring, and what do you have to show for it? 4 Generations come and generations go, but the world stays just the same. 9 What has happened before will happen again. What has been done before will be done again. There is nothing new in the whole world.
After all this, there is only one thing to say: Have reverence for God, and obey His commands, because this is all that we were were created for.Ecclesiastes 12:13 (TEV)
I know – what a crazy passage to start the year with. But in my experience, this is almost exactly how I feel every year. Every year, I am reminded that I am getting older and I haven’t achieved half the things I wanted to. Every year, I have an enormous list of new-year’s resolutions and I am absolutely positive that I will be able to make them a reality. And every year, I am depressed that I didn’t get to half the new-year’s resolutions I decided on the previous year. Every year, it’s just another year. Another year of starting the same cycle that often just feels meaningless.
And then, to avoid the cycle (and falling right back into it), I decide that the next year is going to be different. That it will be better and I will accomplish what I wanted to. And I make a long list of goals. And pretty soon my list is so long that it is impossible to accomplish in a year and I am right back in the meaningless I-am-worthless-because-I-didn’t-do-all-that-I-wanted-to-do cycle.
I love lists and I love goals – at the right time and for the right reasons. I don’t love them at the beginning of the year because then I tend to fall into the trap of valuing myself based on all I did (or didn’t do) the previous year.
So this year, I’m not making a list. Or at least – I’m not making a list in order to feel valuable. Because we can never get our worth from what we do. We get our worth from who we are, in Him. Because, aside from God, everything is meaningless.
So, on the first day of this new year, let’s rest in that. God made us. We are engraved on the palm of His hand. And no failed new-year’s resolution can change that.
Happy new year everyone.