Remaining in 2013

January 4, 2013

This post-holiday week has felt like a loud and hovering pause. It’s as if I’m at a stop light and even though the light has turned green, I can’t find the right gear to get the car going.

I think my brain is shorting out after ingesting too much glitter, hairspray, and feathers from down jackets. Winter wonderlands really mess you up.

Can you believe it’s 2013? The year still sounds weird, like I’m living in the future. Shouldn’t cars be flying by now? Why won’t my lamp turn off when I clap twice?? Should I start wrapping appliances in foil?

I keep hearing that the New Year is the time to launch, start, and get going! But I’m having a hard time finishing the sentences I started in 2012. I’m having a hard time finishing sentences at all.

I sat down to write every day this week, asking God Almighty for a witty, mind-blowing blog post to launch the New Year. But what transpired instead was a handful of false starts and one absolutely horrendous first draft that relied heavily on the phrase, “you know?”

I spared you that post, which is the reason for the delay.

The thing is, I always suffer from a bit of mental and emotional whiplash after a celebration ends. I think things like:

  • “Oh, so, is it time to speak with an inside voice again?”
  • “Are sequins still allowed? Or are we all transitioning to neon?”
  • “Where did Michael Bublé go?”
  • “I wore an ugly sweater to a Christmas party and I now I actually  like it. Is that wrong?”
  • “What happens when my Starbucks gift card runs out? It is the gift that always ends in disappointment.”

Entering the New Year just isn’t as sexy and glittery as the TV told me it would be. I blame Michael Bublé, who abandoned us after Christmas.

This week is the anti-climactic transition. Everywhere I look, the New Year is supposed to launch a proactive verb: starting, cleaning, exercising, dieting, learning, joining, etc. And I quickly get overwhelmed at not knowing where or how to start verb-ing up my life.

Yesterday I settled on a new, reassuring verb that encouraged my frantic little heart in the midst of this stop light pause.

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain  in me.” -John 15:4 (NLT)

The year is new in number, but in every other way it remains the same, accessorized with the same old-fashioned lamps that require turning, the same cars that require driving, and the same hearts that pray 2013 prayers that sound a lot, even identical, to 2012 prayers.  We are remaining in the places we already were with a new date in the ledger.

The goal, then, might not be to launch something new, but to learn how to remain more deeply and intentionally, to know God more fully and learn how to grow effectively and faithfully exactly where we are.

I like the idea of remaining as a means of growing into God. To be honest, I get nervous about growing into anything else… like a wardrobe with too many sequins, a playlist with too much Michael Bublé, or a sweater than can only be used on one occasion. Every other kind of growth feels on the verge of expiration.

Remaining is a means of permanence, which feels so reassuring. It is a  pursuit that grows deeper, wider, and sweeter in each new year, a verb that brings all others into alignment.

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