My Awakening, The Happiness Trap

An Open Heart for the New Year

This year, I intentionally did not set any goals or resolutions.  I’ve learned that striving to achieve measurable outcomes leads me down a path toward self-reliance. It’s hard to rest in God and be present in the moment when I am focused on all the tasks I need to accomplish.  

Heading into the office for the first time in a couple weeks, I naturally felt a bit down. We had such a delightfully cozy Christmas, fun New Year, and joyous celebration of the kids’ birthdays (Teo’s will continue this evening!) that coming into work couldn’t match the feeling of celebration and enthusiasm.  Nor should it.  The highs in life feel special because they are different from everyday life.  We can’t have the highs without the lows (or the everydayness).

Preparing for the New Year, I’ve been praying a lot about acceptance and not trying to control my emotions.  The image in this post is a great example of what acceptance looks like!  It’s really just letting thoughts and feelings come and go without trying to fix or change them. 

Today I realized, when I don’t strive to be in control of my emotions and feel “happy” through thinking only “positive” thoughts, it can lead to a sense of hopelessness and discontent.  But, there is a more pure joy and hopefulness that comes from resting in God and trusting his promises.  When my focus is on Christ and the freedom he has won for us, my heart is open and able to delight in whatever is happening in the given moment. 

I received faith themed planner stickers as a Christmas gift. I’ve avoided planner stickers as they started to become popular because I don’t use a traditional planner.  But, these stickers are so fun and exactly my style!  They work wonderfully in my bullet journal and added some whimsy to my otherwise boring list of “to dos”.  Looking at them now, they simply state some of the many Biblical promises we can rely upon in daily life:

“He has plans for me”

“Ask and it will be given to you”

“Seek and you will find”

“Knock at the door will be opened to you”

“Hope anchors the soul”

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for…”

“I can do all things through Him that strengthens me”

“The Lord bless you and keep you”

In 2021, my prayer is that God helps me stay rooted in Him and living more from my heart than from my head.  I want to feel more deeply, which means that I’ll experience both the highs and lows.  Acceptance feels most safe when I remember that God is utterly trustworthy and loves me beyond comprehension.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3: 5-6)

3 thoughts on “An Open Heart for the New Year”

  1. I like the image describing acceptance! So simple when we accept what is.
    I also love the stickers!! Great post to start the new year! xoxo

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