At the start of the new year, most of us are ready for a fresh start. Shake off the dust of the previous year and move forward. I don’t know about you, but January 1 of each year is full of hope and possibilities. Maybe this will be the year that I stick with a healthy meal plan. Maybe this will be the year that I stick with an exercise regimen. Maybe this will be the year that I land a lucrative book contract. Go to any gym, and you’ll see that many people start the new year ready for change. Most of it is a desire for positive change. If you made resolutions this year, I encourage you to stick with it.
However, 2017 is a different year for me. I did not make resolutions around healthy eating or an exercise routine (though I probably should). Nope. Not this year. This year I desire one thing: I want a closer walk with God. Watching 2016, and the divisiveness of politics and media, it hurt me deeply. I watched the anger and insults trickle into the lives of family and friends. I watched battles one against another, whether of social media or in the classroom or in the line at Walmart. This division cuts and wounds and maims, and that’s the point. It’s a boiling pot for hatred, anger, and disgust. It lashes out at anyone who might not see things the same way. It is through this difficult and tumultuous time, that I started to feel the tug of the Holy Spirit. I can’t pinpoint when or where it began, but something began to tug deep inside of me: I am the answer.
I’ve been ignoring it for a couple months. I’ve been busy, you know. My book was released, and I had places to go and people to talk to, and lives to touch. But the stirring began, and that still small voice would not leave me alone. As emotions and hostility and conflict increased, I’d feel that tug again: I am the answer.
The epiphany, and ultimately my decision to make a commitment to deepen my relationship with my heavenly father, came from the story of Rahab. I was listening to a sermon about the prostitute who hid the Israeli spies in Jericho. She was a woman of ill-repute in a tumultuous time. A time when her life would end if anyone found out about her protecting Jericho’s enemies. Long after the sermon, my mind wouldn’t stop thinking about this woman.
What was it that made her go against her people?
Was she tired of the box she’d created for herself?
Was she ready to be seen as something more than just a prostitute?
What decisive moment led to her choosing to place her faith in these men who no doubt told her about God’s promise to His people about the promise land?
But that one moment–that one decision–not only saved her life and her entire household, it completely changed the trajectory of her life.
Rahab left her past behind. She started again. When the walls of Jericho fell, and her house was the only one still standing, she probably felt that tug in her heart too. That call for a deeper commitment to God. To walk away from the world she knew, and to embrace God’s purpose for her. She eventually married, and the bloodline of Jesus Himself came through Rahab. Because she was ready for a change and was willing to take a leap of faith. The old Rahab was gone when those walls fell down around her.
So, this year, I’m ready to forget about the noise and chaos of the world around me, to stop becoming anxious and fearful over the future, to stop pretending I have it all together (when I clearly don’t), to stop trying to control things that I have no control over. Instead, I choose to walk forward in my faith and make the leap. I choose to put God first in my time, my priorities, my finances, my family.
Why? Because He is, after all, the answer I’ve been looking for.