Each year I avoid New Year’s Resolutions. Instead, I choose a One Word Goal and seek to improve my lifestyle on that word. My goal is not to be perfect, but to choose to improve. Meaning, if I’m better at applying the word in my life than I was the year prior, then I’ve achieved success. The approach is far reasonable than typical New Year’s Resolutions.
Taking the cue from my ministerial friend Sally Stewart, in past years, I’ve chosen hope, faith, and last year was acceptance. Wow, what a word to choose. Little did I know that 2020 would force me to “accept” things the way I did. Being a fighter my whole life, I thought to “accept” things as they are and mellow out. Again, wow, 2020 sucker punched me and taught me to “go with the flow” far beyond what I imagined, which I did.
Looking to 2021, what is this year’s One Word Goal? This year my One Word Goal is, “rest!”
In some ways, “rest” is a continuation of my 2020 goal, but not really. 2020 taught me to really “accept” things and go with the flow far beyond what I imagined. Case in point, I thought I would be out of the Army by the close of 2020, but I’m still an Army Chaplain. Why? Yep, you guessed it, COVID-19. Many, many, many plans were interrupted by COVID-19, so I’ve had to accept those things.
Looking ahead, now that I’ve had a year to work through what I thought was going to be a short exit from the Army, I can now look to “rest” in my life. Not just rest for 2021, but for-life. How then I rest in 2021 will dictate my life as we advance beyond 2021.
Sure, there’s a remote possibility that I’ll get to stay as an Army Chaplain, but due to some reasons that might occur. Know this, any exit or retention within the Army for me is all positive. Should my discharge from the Army occur, it’s because they’re looking out for my family and me. Therefore, I have nothing to be ashamed of, and nothing where I need to despise the Army.
However, there’s a strong likelihood I’ll be an Army Veteran by the close of 2021. Even if I’m not, choosing and learning to rest in 2021 is essential.
Scripture reminds us that rest is essential. Hebrews says, “Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest. If we don’t, “one will perish by following their example of disobedience.” That’s strong language from Hebrews 4:11.
Rest means we need not just to take a day off. Instead, it reflects our spirit towards our lifestyle, that we need to enjoy what we do and do it for the Lord. We must then not stress even when we work, but rest in the Lord as we operate. Be it our vocational work or any other stressors in our lives.
Personally, regardless of the Army’s decision for my life, I’ll have a chance to chose to rest like never before in my life. Outcomes in 2021 will vastly change my life, I’ll always work, but now I’ll rest within that work. If my answer is “no,” then I’m more stubborn than anyone has ever accused me of being. At the close of 2021, I’ll have more reasons to rest and work to thrive than for Christ than ever before.
But what about you? Each year I write these One Year Goalposts to challenge and encourage you!
Friends, you can show more faith than myself. You can rest now! Christ doesn’t need an Army discharge to do so. Instead, He gives you the same faith He’s challenged me to have for decades—faith in Him, period.
There’s a reason I quoted scripture earlier. His Bible is timeless, and it gives us perspective beyond us. The words from Hebrews to “rest” existed before me and you. As a result, His truth and encouragements were planned before your situation, before my predicament, and thank God before 2020! We, then, have the incentive that Jesus Christ has a plan for us. A trajectory that includes His future and a plan to rest if nowhere else, but in Him!
2020 was bad. Probably hard to “accept.” Fortunately, it’s in our rearview mirror; therefore, then how are not you, but how are we going to move forward and rest from it. Not just for 2021, but the remainders of our lives, and for eternity???
Let us rest in Him then, forevermore!