The new year brings with it a sense of freshness, possibility, and often grand plans for new routines, renewed outlooks, or the desire to break old habits. All of these ideas, while a good thing, can take off in our minds and feel much like a horse off on a full run, soon the reins are no longer in your grip. The horse is now running out of control and you are in danger of falling off.
I decided long ago to refrain from the whole concept of resolutions. I realized that making a decision to change is a good thing, but the feeling of failure that comes with it when it doesn’t happen makes me want to stop trying.
As a believer, I have been learning that my desire to change is not something I am supposed to force or manipulate. If I seek change, I am also to seek it within the confines of His grace. I am called as His child to come to Him with what is on my heart and entrust it to Him.
This is easier said than done.
I was brought up to work hard, to see progress, and to only stop when the task was completed. This mentality can be great when working on a project for the house, painting a garage, cutting the grass, etc. However, when you say that you want God to be in charge, then your sheer willpower is only going to get in the way.
During my engagement, I could see the relationship was starting to unravel on the edges. I didn’t want it to fall apart, so I doubled my efforts, more planning, more taking control of the situation. My fiancé was comfortable with my assertions, it meant he didn’t have to do it. Until we were just weeks from the wedding and he saw that my forcefulness was only delaying the inevitable. Then he stepped in and called it all off.
My horse had been running out of control for a long time and finally threw me off.
In the aftermath, I saw God come in gently, bringing me comfort, words of wisdom from those I respected, and the space to cry and mourn. As time went on, I realized, I had taken the reins from God’s hands. It had never been part of His perfect plan for me to marry my fiancé.
I made the decision to hand off my heart and soul once again, to my Heavenly Father. In the years that followed my failed engagement, I came to learn that by entrusting my heart, mind, soul, and future to Christ I no longer had to worry that I was making the right decisions. I came to understand and to live out the life submitted to the Holy Spirit.
I went from trying to rein in a runaway horse, to allowing the Holy Spirit to rein in my life. It was during these months and years that I learned what a life truly submitted to Christ could be. I lived a life of joy and peace; I was growing in my faith and prayer life. In my case, I was walking close enough to Christ that I could hear His whisper when I was to obey the calling of Christ. The heavenly whisper to accept my husband’s proposal. To listen and follow when I didn’t know what I was going to do next or where I was being led.
As I stand at the beginning of a new year, I can look back and see the times I took the reins, the times when I gave them to Christ, and the lessons and blessings that came in each season. My prayer for this new year is for me to fall in love again with the God I have followed for nearly 30 years.
Best Beloved, who holds the reins in your heart? Is it time to allow God to come and reign in your heart? No guilting, no shaming, just humble honesty. I know I need Him, the older I get, the more I seem to need Him.