But as for me, I trust in You O Lord,
I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in Your hand
(Psalm 31:14-15a New King James Version)
New Year Expectations
Perhaps like me, each New Year you have an expectation that this year will be different. You look back at the past 12 months with disappointment because goals you set at the start have not been accomplished, hopes you had were not met and dreams you cherished were dashed. When this happens year after year, it is tempting to become cynical, or pessimistic, defeatist or even indifferent. Que sera, sera, you say to yourself (whatever will be, will be!) yet secretly you feel disappointed.
If the above scenario speaks to you where you are at, don’t become like Alexander Pope, who said:
“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”
And please don’t give up on your goals, or on making plans for the future. That is precisely what the Enemy wants! Someone has said that “a failure to plan is a plan for failure!” Goals are not just for the highly ambitious, or for the career-minded. If you want to enjoy success, as depicted in Psalm 1:3, if you want to walk as a victorious overcomer, then you need to plan to make these things happen. If God has thoughts and plans for your future, then why not you?
Set Some Goals – Devise a Plan
May I encourage you to hold onto God’s Word this year? May I encourage you to focus your plans around His promises?
Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that our Father God has good, positive thoughts about us and pre-ordained plans. Depending on which version you read, He has plans to give us a future and hope (NKJ), or plans to give us an expected end (KJ). So what are your expectations for this year?
Do you expect more defeat, more disappointment, more reasons for discouragement and more experiences of failure?
If so, then you are listening to the wrong voice and you are entertaining the wrong thoughts. Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy. Make no mistake about it – he hates you! His aim in your life is to steal your peace, kill your hopes and dreams, destroy your expectations of God’s blessing and supernatural manifestations in your life. He wants to steal, kill and destroy your faith, knowing full well that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
Be Aware of Satan’s Tactics
And sometimes, because we are beaten down by life’s battles, because we have abandoned hope, because continuing to nurture our expectations in the midst of struggles, trials and temptations or because overcoming opposition feels too hard, we allow ourselves to become a prey of Satan’s manipulations.
We pay heed to his accusations:
against our Father (Has God said? Did He promise?)
against ourselves (You’ll never make it! What makes you think it will be different this time?)
and against others (They’ll let you down! Nobody cares about you! He/she can’t be trusted!).
And if we keep accepting his poisonous lies, if we keep focussing on the negative scenarios which he paints in our mind’s eye, then before we know it, instead of being dressed in the protective armour of God and standing our ground, we find ourselves clothed in the garments of depression and oppression. We begin to flounder in the marshy fields of fear, frustration and failure. We succumb to despair, or unbelief and become his victims.
Don’t let last year’s disappointments, or past hurts dictate this year’s outcome for your life.
Take a Leaf From God’s Book
God says we are to imitate him like dear children, so I’d like to encourage you this New Year to follow his example of faith, optimism and persistence. In Genesis, we read about God’s hopes and dreams at the very beginning. He plans to build a community of people who will dwell in a secure place of abundant provision and divine protection, who will live forever, loving and obeying him, enjoying close fellowship with him.
We read how God creates a beautiful paradise and places Adam and Eve within it. However, along came the Enemy in the shape of a serpent. We learn how Satan sowed contrary thoughts in the minds of God’s people and upset his plans. From all appearances, it seemed as if Satan had successfully sabotaged God’s dream.
But fast forward to the book of Revelation and we see that God’s original dream for his beloved creation, finally comes to fruition. In between these two books, we read of his disappointment with people, his hurt, his anger. We see again and again, the undermining of his plans for His chosen nation, Israel. However, he never loses hope. His expectation for the future, for the ultimate realisation of his plans, remains intact.
Hope Stabilises Your Emotions
According to the Chambers 21st Century Dictionary, hope is defined as follows:
1a desire for something, with some confidence or expectation of success.
2A person, thing or event that gives one good reason for hope.
3A reason for justifying the belief that the thing desired will still occur.
4Something desired or hoped for.
The Bible tells us that hope is an anchor for our soul (i.e. our mind, will and emotions). When the storms of life assail you, let down your anchor of hope. Anchor yourself to the truth, to the promises of God’s Word.
If God (who is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent), experienced disappointment and delay to his plans, should we as lesser mortals expect any different?
Let your hope be in God and in His Word. God and his Word are one, inseparable. Do you believe this? If so, understand that God and his Word are unchangeable, unshakeable. So let expectations of His goodness, mercy and power abound in your hearts. Let godly expectations and hope reign over disillusionment.
God Has Pre-planned Your Future
Why not entrust your future into our Father God’s hands? Entrust this year as part of that bright future, into his safe keeping. Ask God to reveal to you his thoughts and plans for your life. Keep a record of your hopes and expectations. Review them regularly. Pray about and make preparation for them. Ask God for wisdom and ask the Holy Spirit to show you what to do, how to do it and also to help you accomplish it.
When plans go awry, when things appear to be the very opposite of your hopes, dreams and expectations, remember God’s dream, as revealed in Genesis. Remember the Bible’s end from its beginning and encourage yourself in the Lord.
Don’t adopt Alexander Pope’s philosophy and mind-set. Instead:
“Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.”
Instead, determine in your heart to walk each day, each week, each month as a victorious overcomer.
Women of Warfare followers and visitors, may your year be crowned with the Lord’s abundance. May 2017 be a glorious year of achievement, victory and success.
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PHOTO CREDITS: the above graphics used are all CC0 images by courtesy of Pixabay.com