There is something so exciting about a new year. The New Year speaks of so many possibilities and hope! It’s a new beginning, a fresh start.
When 2014 was starting to come to an end, I woke up to find myself a broken soul and in need of a fresh start. In my brokenness God showed me a way out in the approaching new year. In my brokenness God inspired me to dream wildly with my 2015 New Years Resolutions long before the inception of Taking Flight!
My Jesus Jar
It all started with a jar. I call it my Jesus Jar. There’s nothing special about it. It’s just a 16-ounce Ball jar that my roommate gave me last Christmas with some M&M’s in it, but over the course of 2015 it became more than just a jar to me.
I wish I had the journal with me now that I was writing in then in 2014 to fully remember and reflect on what led me to start a Jesus Jar. What I do remember is that I was eager for a change. I had fallen victim to the “sophomore slump” and as a result I was overcome with self-pity and sadness. I just felt stuck all the time. I was unhappy in my internship and at times in my major. To top it all off, I also didn’t feel like I was in the right place.
When 2014 was finally coming to a close, the Lord sparked a desire in me to know Him better and seek Him in prayer. I remember sitting in my room and looked over to the jar of M&M’s. Looking back, I remember it was like one of those moments in a Christmas comedy where the ornery kid takes one long look at the jar and then downs all its contents because that’s exactly what I did. I stuffed every M&M in that jar into my mouth, wrote down the first note and placed it in the jar. I never looked back from there (nor did I regret the obnoxious consumption of M&M’s).
The Jesus Jar became a physical representation of the prayers I sent up to the Father, a reminder that he hears every prayer and collects every tear in a jar (Psalm 6:9; Psalm 56:8). However, the first note was not a prayer, but a proclamation. It read:
Jesus satisfies. I have been filled.
Throughout 2015, it became my prayer that I would find peace and contentment in Christ alone and that he would fulfill me. I actually wrote one prayer that was probably from a night where I was so tired and so empty that all I had the energy to pray was, “Peace and contentment. Amen.”
Almost everyday, I would find scraps of paper that would be lying around my apartment or the pages of little notepads, and I would write down a prayer that was on my heart and put it into my Jesus Jar. Sometimes they were prayers of deliverance, sometimes they were prayers of hope and longing. Sometimes they were prayers for friends and family but a lot of the time they were prayers for myself. The act of putting the little note in that jar seems small but it was like putting the words “Your will be done” into action. By putting each prayer into the jar and tightly closing the lid, I was giving every prayer, every hope, every desire over to God in my quest to be Christ-filled.
A Resolution for Compassion
Along with an intense desire to know Christ better and more deeply through prayer, I wanted to put into practice one of Christ’s greatest attributes – his compassion. As 2014 came to a close, I found myself looking back on my life and the previous year and I saw a girl who was self-absorbed (if we’re being blunt and honest). Questions like why me, why is she so special, and don’t I deserve x, y or z, too had constantly consumed my mind in the months leading up to the new year. I rarely considered the feelings or needs of others, but instead wallowed in my feelings and my needs. But such questions and attitudes are so far from what it means to be Christ-minded.
In the New Testament we read of countless examples of Christ’s compassion and it usually wasn’t at the most convenient time that he demonstrated such great and overwhelming love. Remember the time when 5,000 people (and that count probably doesn’t include women and children) just wouldn’t leave him alone in Matthew 14? He tended their sick. He fed ALL 5,000 of them with what little the apostles had – five loaves of bread and two fish. He did all of that even though he was just seeking a place of quiet solitude where he could grieve the brutal and heartless murder of his cousin John the Baptist.
I looked at my life and the life of my Savior and realized that I was not taking up my cross as I should (Luke 9:23). My concern was not for my neighbor but myself (Matthew 22:36-40). So with my Jesus Jar in one hand and pen and paper in the other, I prayed for a compassionate heart and resolved to become a more compassionate person.
Another note I wrote to myself and placed into my Jesus Jar early in 2015 is a famous quote from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. It’s one of my favorite Christmas movies and classic plays because it reminds me what life is all about. In the beginning, Scrooge is confronted by the ghost of his late business partner Jacob Marley. Too little too late, Marley proclaims to Scrooge one of the greatest truths we could ever live out:
Business?! Mankind should have been my business!
In 2015, I wanted to make mankind my business and I hope I have grown from a self-pitying, self-absorbed girl into a compassionate woman.
The Word Resolution
The resolution for compassion was in part inspired by my friend Kayla. I met Kayla my first year at OU at the church I worship with. Speaking of compassionate – Kayla is one of the greatest examples of compassion I have ever had the pleasure to witness! She’s the kind of person who will ask you how your day was before she says a word about her day and she will genuinely want to know how you are. But it was not only her compassion that drove me to a resolution for compassion.
Kayla had also told me about instead of resolving to drink more water or eat healthier or to lose weight (which are definitely all good things), she picks a word and makes that her resolution. I still to this day think this is the neatest idea!
A New Year, A New Song
When I think of a new year, I think of the hymn “New Song” we often sing in worship. Every day is a new song when we are in Christ. Through the death and resurrection of His Son, God has given us a new song to sing (Psalm 40:3).
So it’s a New Year, a New Song, a New Resolution.
In 2015, I resolve to be Christ-filled! I don’t want to waste a day of my life finding fulfillment in something other my Savior and King. He is the cornerstone of my life. I resolve to crown him King of my life today, tomorrow and everyday of 2016 and beyond.
Through Taking Flight and my Jesus Jar, I will use these tools to continue to seek him and glorify him, making much of his sacrifice on the cross.
Resolve to Live a Christ-filled Adventure
So here’s your call to action, ladies! This year as you make your resolutions I hope you will dream wildly. There is no resolution too big for God to make manifest! Pick a word that you want to make a reality in your life and dig into the Word to see what scripture has to say about it! Take your resolution to God in prayer – maybe even start a Jesus Jar of your own or a prayer journal! Whatever you decide on, I hope it will lead you to live a Christ-filled adventure!
(photos by Kathryn Patterson Photography)