Encouragement for all of us from a guest contributor, Vicki VanNatta.
January 1, 2013, New Year’s Day:
Sigh…Do I really have to face another one of these? Setting goals, evaluating the past year, reviewing my accomplishments – except in my case I review what I didn’t accomplish, which is more obvious. All those things left undone on Dec 31, like a kitchen counter cluttered with the effects of a busy week of running to and fro. It’s draining. January 1 seems like a day designed to showcase my failures, highlight my shortcomings and remind me that my life is passing by—and what exactly have I really accomplished? How will I be remembered? Will I be remembered? What did I do with the time I had? How in the world did I manage to waste so many years?
So I would rather go to bed – yes, I know it’s 10am. And for a person who battles depression, going back to bed at 10am is like an alcoholic having a vodka on the rocks at 10am; a sign that today I am again falling off the wagon. Going to bed, curling up under the safety of blankets and comforter, letting sleep make it all go away for a few hours—I may as well have had several drinks at 10am. I sleep and sleep and sleep some more. Drifting in and out. Feeling guilty, rehearsing my failures during times of consciousness. And to top it off, back to bed at 6:30pm, sleeping soundly until –
January 2, 2013:
What time is it??? 4am?
Lord, did you waken me for a reason? It has to be you, Lord, because I’m that no-good sleepaholic bum. Remember? I wasted a day under the covers. Wasted the day I was supposed to be setting goals and creating my life’s plan for this year. Yes, I was truly wide awake and hungry. Only my hunger pangs got me out of bed.
Hot food and drink. A hot shower. Small blessings I often overlook. I visited someone in the hospital this week, and now this morning, standing under hot water running over me, I thought of all those people lying in hospital beds who may not be able to shower for a long time. I’m blessed.
I remember my mom telling me, “Get a good night’s sleep. Things will look better in the morning.” You were right, Mom, they do.
Perhaps I needed the sleep. Can 12 hours of sleep ever be God’s plan? Doesn’t sleeping 12 hours make me a ‘sluggard’? Don’t I remember reading something in Proverbs about lazy people who will come to no good?
But wasn’t it Elijah who slept for hours when he wanted to die? And wasn’t he a prophet or someone God used in an amazing way? Now where is that story? Searching my Bible, I find it. The story of Elijah in I Kings 19.
Elijah was ‘zealous for the Lord,’ but on this day, he ran into the desert, sat under a tree and told God he wanted to die. Utterly hopeless, he slept and ate and slept and ate, in that time finding strength to continue. He heard God’s voice, then, when God spoke to him; and he went on with the work God gave him.
In the end, he never did die, but God took him home in the middle of a whirlwind, in a chariot of fire pulled by horses of fire (2 Kings 2:11). Amazing! He never had to die an earthly death even though he begged for God to take his life that day in the desert.
Yes. I slept the day away, but I think it was God’s plan for me. This morning I have renewed strength and hope; determination to make some changes that need to be made; renewed awareness of the Holy Spirit in my life; and realization of simple blessings – like a hot shower.
New Year’s Day isn’t a day to review my failures. It’s a day to look forward and see that God has given me one more day to be a blessing to someone, to be ‘zealous for the Lord God Almighty.’ Don’t look back. God has forgotten those mistakes of your past. You should work at forgetting them too. You may not be exactly where you want to be, but aren’t you glad you aren’t where you were 20 years ago?
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19