No one would describe me as a slow processor, yet I still don’t know what to think about this past year. 2018 didn’t go down like I thought it would. This year hurt so much more than I believed it could. It disappointed. It surprised. It revealed things I didn’t want to know. 2018 stretched and grew me where I honestly wasn’t seeking growth. It introduced me to bittersweet joy while training me to find contentment when my questions lack satisfying answers. 2018 changed me. Some of it good, and some of it I’m still waiting for the Lord to make good.
I spent most of this year just trying to keep up. I rarely took the time to think strategically. I invested all my energy into coping. But the arrival of 2019 has me pondering some questions. Am I becoming the woman I want to be? Am I raising my boys to be the kind of men I want them to be? More importantly, what is forming my ideas about what we should become?
I can’t answer these questions in the ways I wish I were able to, but I am resolved to pursue the one who knows who I am and who I will become. He is committed to eliminating the gap between who I am and who I will be (Philippians 1:6). I can’t become that woman on my own. I desperately need Christ. The gospel gives me hope that he will transform me into who I should be (Romans 8:29). I believe that he is using 2018 to make me more like Christ.
My desire for 2019 is to pursue Christ. Whether it means walking, running, skipping, wobbling, or crawling, I just want to be a pursuer. I’d prefer this pursuit to be quick and painless, but this year I learned that sometimes it hurts too much to even move. Some days, walking isn’t even an option. So, when those days come next year, I resolve now to crawl if it means I get even a little bit closer to him. Whatever it takes. I want to be in pursuit of Christ and his kingdom.
As I cultivate my desire to pursue Christ, I wholeheartedly acknowledge that he is the great pursuer (1 John 4:10). He draws me to himself. It is only because of his pursuit of me that I am able to pursue him. May God continue to humble me with the reminder of this truth — he initiates my pursuit. My desire for him comes from him.
My pursuit of Christ demands intentionality. I don’t want to one day realize that my feet are walking along with little thought as to where the path leads. My fear is that my feet will step into the paths of least inconvenience. I want to purposefully step into spaces that display my love for God and benefit his church. I want more of Jesus in 2019 and in the years to come, and that won’t happen accidentally. I must live deliberately.
There is danger in confining this great pursuit to lofty and abstract ideals. The reality of my pursuit will involve reading, writing, and arithmetic with my boys. I will continue to drive them all over town because when I became a mother, I also apparently signed up to be an Uber driver! My days will be filled with conference calls, dinner prep, deadlines, and discipleship. I’ll host gatherings, date my husband, argue with him, disciple my boys, run errands, and read more books than I care to admit for fear of revealing my reading addiction. I’ll laugh, grieve, withdraw, engage, put my foot in my mouth, write something stupid, and meet new people.
I’ll do all these things while I pursue Christ. This great chase isn’t done in isolation, but rather in community. It’s done during the many, ordinary happenings of life. I’ll pursue Christ in the drive-thru and at the dentist office. My pursuit will take place when I’m alone and when I’m surrounded by fellow pursuers.
I’ll pursue him through prayer, studying his word, doing his word, confession of sin, speaking the gospel to myself and others, sacrificial giving, serving my local church, loving my neighbors, caring for the poor, and more. Pursuing Christ requires immersing myself in the everyday liturgies that direct my heart towards him.
I appreciate the kind of reset the new year brings. There’s nothing magical about the calendar changing from one year to another. But January gives us the courage to hope for and work towards new and better pursuits. Whatever your specific pursuits might be, I encourage you to pursue Christ in them all. I’m proposing that we pursue Christ together.
May we be moved out of love for our good father who pursued us while we were his enemies. May we trust him to shape our pursuits to help us know him and make him known. Cheers to the new year and to the great pursuit!