I have been thinking about this post for a few weeks, "What am I going to say on December 30? What can I shout about all the ways God has changed me this year and the ways He is working in me? What pithy thing can I say to encapsulate 2010 and prove to you all that I am a new thing?"
This morning I find it hard to wake up. I find it hard to start my day, staying in my sweatshirt and pink plaid flannels past lunch time. True, I was working til the eleventh hour, handing in things by deadlines, but there's no excuse for my Kiss Me I'm Irish sweatshirt and grumbling over the lack of coffee. My head already hurts.
I start a blog. I stop mid-first-sentence.
I start another one. I am lying through my teeth.
I delete them both and take a shower.
It's not that there aren't a million and five things going through my head to tell you. It's not that God hasn't pulled through in the most magnificent and simple ways. It's not that I haven't been torn down and built up in ways that make me weep. And it's not that I don't want to tell you those things. I do.
It's just that today feels weak and humbling. Sad and forced.
And I'm somehow a little grateful for that.
My exercise this afternoon was to ask myself seven pertinent questions about 2010, declare it over and then ask five pertinent questions about 2011 and declare it begun. And I did it, wrote it all down, scrawled in the notebook that tucks in my Bible. And I'm glad for it, maybe at some point I'll tell you what I declared this year to be, what theme will be the making and undoing of me for the next 365 days.
But not today.
Today I am just reminded that God isn't bound by new year days or 52 weeks or time or declarative themes at all. Today I am just reminded of all the things I hated at the beginning of this year, God himself included, and how He has surprised me at every turn. I don't even remember New Year's Eve 2010. I remember the new year of my heart that happened so many, many times this year. I remember moments when I would come face to face with my wickedness and weakness, and shrug my shoulders at the hopelessness of it all.
I don't remember my resolutions, I remember giving up.
So maybe that's why today hits me so hard, squarely between the temples, pounding in my head--my resolutions stink of the flesh.
Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? Galations 3.2-5
Today is a giving up day. Today is a day when I intentionally acknowledge that I cannot begin this in the Spirit and perfect it through my flesh. My dreams, my goals, my hopes, my aspirations, my spiritual disciplines--these keep me perfecting the flesh. These keep me returning to a god in a box and not the Maker of heaven and earth, Father of all good things, Savior to my deepest doubts and most secreted fears.
Today is an ending day. But it's not the only one. Every day of my life is an ending day.
And a beginning day.
And that's the truth about 2010.