Obviously I started off 2018 with a cup of good coffee. Some things just don’t change. I love sitting down to journal on January 1st. It’s a habit I’ve grown fond of over the past few years. Communing with Jesus on the precipice of a brand new year feels like a holy and intimate moment between him and I. It’s like a secret meeting with the One who already knows what the year holds and it’s as if I get little whispers of promise and hope about the days to come.
As I wrote in my journal this morning, I felt like Jesus placed on my heart that this year I need to be expectant.
I need to have full faith that Jesus can and will show up – and in ways that blow my mind. I want to be someone who trusts in the Lord and his goodness always.
Jesus promises us so much, but I think we often miss seeing it woven in our day-to-day because we aren’t expectant. We aren’t waiting on Jesus, looking out for the moment He fulfills promises and moves in our world like little glimmers of heaven all around us. He’s always moving and at work, and surely there are times He chooses not to reveal what he’s doing to us, but I think we would see him a lot more if we were on the lookout. If we truly believed in our hearts that He is at work and fulfilling promises left and right, and waited on him with expectation, I think our view of Jesus’ presence would radically change. I think my view of Jesus’ presence would radically change.
As mentioned in my post about why 2018 is not about my resolutions, I didn’t set any “New Years resolutions,” though I did jot down what my hopes and dreams were for the year ahead. I’ve found that I hesitate to truly ask God for those hopes and dreams. I sometimes don’t ask at all and other times I try to slyly hint at them, as if Jesus wasn’t already aware. And I think that ties into a deeply held belief that even if God could show up and deliver on what I was asking for, he probably won’t. A part of me doubts his goodness.
I don’t fully believe that when we ask, we receive. I don’t fully trust that God loves to fulfill promises and dreams. So I hold everything loosely. I try to tell myself that I don’t want my dream or hope that much. That mindset keeps me from experiencing disappointment and it keeps me safe. But it also keeps me from fully hoping in Christ, believing in His innate goodness or waiting expectantly for him to show up.
Believing in Christ doesn’t mean all my hopes and dreams become a reality. But it does mean knowing his character and living in a way that acknowledges that reality. In Matthew 7 it talks about how God is the giver of good gifts and encourages us to ask him for what we want.
“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” – Matthew 7:11 ESV
Hesitating to hope and being afraid to ask for what I really want for fear of disappointment are not healthy spiritual practices. I wonder the ways that I would see our faithful, loving God would show up if I simply started truly asking him for the things I hope for. Of course there will be answers of “no” or “not yet,” but imagine how great the rejoicing will be for the times the answer is “yes.”
When I was a leader for a middle school ministry I had a weekend winter camp coming up. My co-leader and I had a few girls signed up, but a lot of girls were giving ambiguous answers or hesitating to actually commit. I was praying one day and felt the Lord prompt me to give a number of how many girls I wanted to come. I decided to go big and told him I wanted twenty girls to come. For my area at the time that was a crazy number. I prayed for those twenty names over and over and on the day of camp we had 19 girls… and moments before the bus pulled away girl number 20 signed up to come. I got to rejoice that twenty girls were going to camp to hear the gospel and have the best weekend ever! And I got to rejoice that it was so clearly God – not any of my own efforts. He had heard my ask and he had given a resounding yes.
My favorite part of asking God and getting a “yes” is not the answer itself. My favorite part is being able to concretely point back to when I asked and give all the glory to God.
So this year I’m going to be expectant. I’m going to ask for the big hopes and dreams – the ones I maybe haven’t voiced in a long time or ever. In 2018 I’m going to walk boldly in the faith that Jesus calls me to and expectantly wait on Him in every hope and every desire. What are you waiting for? Jesus is inviting you in. To experience him, all we have to do is ask.