I am a wall calendar kind of girl. Each year, I love picking out my next wall calendar and deciding what theme it will be. My favorites are scenes of nature. In the past, I have been drawn to the beach scenes. They seem so peaceful. In the pictures there are no people, no hustle and bustle, and I could just imagine myself sitting on each one, a world away from all the busyness around me.
Before the beaches, Thomas Kinkade paintings were wildly popular and for several years in a row, I selected the Thomas Kinkade calendars. He is known as the “painter of light” and that is one of the things I love about his paintings; in each cottage, church, or home, it looks like all the lights are on through the windows. It feels so homey, warm, and also peaceful.
Now, I am on a National Park kick. Over the past few years, my family and I had the opportunity to discover some incredibly beautiful places, of which I do not want to soon forget. Among my favorites are Yellowstone, Arches, Grand Tetons, and Acadia National Parks; and of course the Great Smoky Mountains, which are so close and easy to explore. I have one of these calendars now.
Between years, I sit down with my old calendar to transfer annual events to the new calendar. Now, I know the question may be raised as to why I do not use a digital calendar that does this automatically, and the answer is that I use a digital calendar also. There is just something about writing family birthdays and anniversaries and recording the age/year of marriage. I also write in any trips that have already been planned. Next comes the stickers from the dentist office for the next appointment reminders and finally, the heartworm monthly stickers for Maddison, our family dog.
I love this annual tradition of mine over the Christmas break. It reminds me of the days when my hair was big and I had a Trapperkeeper. In addition to being nostalgic, it also reminds me to pray for each person as I am writing in their birthday, each marriage as it works to complete another year, each friend recording the day of passing of one of their loved ones. When the digital calendar auto-fills in all this info, there is not the time or thought given to the approaching year and the events to come.
This year, as I had both calendars sprawled out on the kitchen island, perched on a bar stool transferring the dates and events, a passage from James 4:13-15 came to mind. It reads as follows:
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’-yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’”
This is such a great reminder that I may be the one filling in the dates and events on a calendar from the upcoming year, but it is the Lord that directs each of my steps, each next birthday, each next anniversary. Jeremiah 29:11 tells me that the Lord knows the plans he has for me, plans for welfare, to give me a future and a hope. Ultimately, whatever happens in this upcoming year, it is at the Lord’s will.
Since my Lord Jesus has been trustworthy and true to me time and time again, I willingly submit my plans to him, willingly surrender what this next year may hold. I pray that it is not my will, nor my plans, but may it be God’s will that is done in my life in 2022. For, in all things to come, the good and the bad, it is my desire that the Lord is glorified from whatever events come my way, including those I do not yet know to write onto the calendar.
This is a great year to practice living out this kind of faith. If the past two years have taught me anything, it is that I do not have control of all things, but I know the Lord who does. Approaching empty grocery store shelves has been a great reminder that I may have planned a certain menu for dinner, but what’s in stock at the store determines otherwise. For a planner personality like mine, this has been a great lesson in letting go of things beyond my control. This includes what the calendar holds for this year, and I pray the Lord Jesus takes it, for my plans are his plans. I encourage you to commit your life and calendar to Jesus, if you have not done so already. Living by faith with Christ Jesus is a great way to begin this new year, and it will yield great rewards filled with contentment and joy.