Everyone is all aflutter with New Year’s resolutions and yearly planning and goal-setting. And these are things that I often get excited about. As a family we are naturally evaluative, we have a family creed and about five other lenses through which we evaluate our own personal lives, our family life, and our ministry. So don’t hear that I am anti-evaluation or planning ahead.
It’s just that this year, every time I try to plan, I keep drawing a big old blank, like the fuzzy black and white screen you used to get on your old school TV when your rabbit ears weren’t adjusted correctly.
At first it was bothering me. Why couldn’t I come up with goals and things to ask for, pray for and work towards? I started to just make some up, like any good planner would. I will get rid of my muffin top. I will trade the cloth diapers in for a little smelly plastic potty. I will meal plan more. I will cook like Julia Childs. I will become outgoing and will lead a play group. Just kidding on the last two. Those are’t even in the realm of God’s miraculous possibility.
But then I realized that for a planner like me it’s a gift that I am miraculously drawing a blank. 2 hymns that I had memorized years back, one by Gergard Tersteegen and one by Anna Waring, came flooding back to mind today.
“Let Him lead thee blindfold onwards/ Love needs not to know;/ Children whom the Father leadeth/ Ask not where they go.”
“Father I know that all my life/ Is portioned out for me/ The changes that are sure to come/ I do not fear to see/ But ask thee for a present mind/ Intent on pleasing thee….
I would not have the restless will/ That hurries too and and fro/ Seeking some great thing to do/ Or secret thing to know/ I would be treated as a child/ and guided where I go.”
I am sure that the Proverbs 31 woman, that hated ghost that haunts and taunts all women, was a planner, and a dang good one at that. But the reality was, she did not have any clue what was coming down the pipe at the beginning of her most-likely lunar year. Yet the Bible tells us an interesting characteristic about her, “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future.”
I realized that this is the goal that I most need. I need grace to be able to look at a blank year with all its unknown trials and joys, feasts and famines, and smile. Smile because I have a gracious, abundantly-rescoured, all-loving Father who holds my hand and walks me into an unknown-to-me but well-planned-by-Him year one day at a time.
Deitrich Bonhoeffer wrote with confidence, “At the beginning of each new day stands the Lord who made it.”
My goal, my daily desperate need, is to grab His hand and stay close to His staff. For in His nearness, with His staff at my side, is all my strength for a blank tomorrow.