By Elaine Fraser
“He brought me out to wide-open spaces; He pulled me out safe because He is pleased with me.” Psalm 18:19
On December 31st, do you find yourself getting on the New Year Resolution bandwagon?
The profound sense of possibility of losing that final five kilograms or writing that novel we have on December 31st, may fade as January turns into February and March.
Before we know it, December 31st rolls around again like a slap in the face reminding us of what we haven’t achieved.
As my life flashes past me in the Facebook highlight reel of my year, what do I see?
I see a year that began in such expectation, big plans and hope.
I see a year that ended with me emotionally, physically and spiritually depleted. I was so tired that I couldn’t even get out of bed for two days at one stage.
How did it come to this?
This crash had been coming a long time and I retreated. It wasn’t a quiet withdrawal, it was more a full-blown defeat.
My inner supply of whatever it was I needed to go on was done. Someone said to me recently, ‘But you don’t work. You don’t have a job.’
I know what he meant. I don’t go into an office in the city every day. I don’t receive a salary. I realised I haven’t had a day off this year.
Two surgeries, my son’s wedding, my daughter moved interstate, the release of my husband’s new book, the release of my new book, travel to Italy, Noumea, and several other places, an aunt who’d had an accident and needed care all combined in a perfect storm.
Something had to give.
What did it feel like?
Every request, every loud noise, every conversation scraped at my soul and I screamed, ‘Stop. Stop it!’ inside.
I had crammed my life full, stuffed down my feelings and ended up feeling constrained, constricted and confined.
On the outside, my life looked perfect. On the inside, I was a mess.
“God hasn’t invited us into a disorderly, unkempt life but into something holy and beautiful – as beautiful on the inside as the outside.” 1 Thessalonians 4:7-17
I went on a Christian writer’s retreat and got some space to pray, think and learn.
I went to a friend’s home for a week and retreated with a group of friends. We talked, laughed, shared, prayed and wrote. We were there to write, but each of us found pieces of our souls that we thought were lost.
As I drew near to Him, as I made room for Him, He drew near.
On this last day of the year, it’s a good practice to make space for Jesus in our plans. As we walk into a new year, we can walk into a new way of living.
My intention for 2017 is to plan for space.
Every January first, my husband and I buy a kikki.K year planner and plot out events, adventures and work commitments. We’ve also started plotting out space in our schedules.
Space for rest.
Space for retreat.
Space for God to move in our lives.
It’s just not about planning the big things in our lives, it’s about making space in the everyday. In the everyday, we need to build a rhythm that works for us, and our families.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.
I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it.
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)
The unforced rhythms of grace are what I aim to build into my life in the New Year.
It’s going to be hard because … life. Life has a way of upending our plans and throwing roadblocks in our path.
However, if we’ve built space into our world, then when these things happen we have more capacity to rest, regroup and recover.
The wide-open spaces God gives us are only found when we open ourselves up to Him.
Elaine Fraser is the author of the Beautiful books, a speaker, and creative mentor. She is passionate about faith, family, reading, writing, golden retrievers, books, and travel. You can find her online at www.elainefraser.co, facebook.com/ElaineFraserBeautifulBooks, instagram.com/elainefraserauthor or twitter.com/elaine_fraser