Okay, so in saying all of this, I begin to get sweaty and nervous. My pulse races and I feel queesy. Just what will 26 hold? Higher expectations? New experiences and challenges? The selling of my soul.....? So, maybe that's going a tad too far!
To answer my own questions, 26 will look different from 25 only in that it is a new year, just as each day is a new day and doesn't look exactly like yesterday. It will come with higher expectations, because each day comes with higher expectations. I don't have to pressure myself into thinking perfection must be magically and instantaneously attained (for indeed, it won't be attained at all)! However, I do want to set goals and press on toward godliness, because this glorifies God and, after all....
[A]man[da]'s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
I must step outside of me (because "me" can't do a thing) and lean into the strength of the God who is All-Powerful and All-Knowing, and let Him guide me through each day's challenges, letting His fire, hot and painful though it may be, filter out the dross and bring out the gold. As one song says,
I know I'm not strong enough to be everything that I'm supposed to be.
I give up. I'm not strong enough.
Hands of mercy, won't you cover me?
Lord, right now, I'm asking You to be strong enough..
For the both of us!
I loved being 25. It was my best year yet! I faced loneliness, heartache, change, the death of a loved one, growth and loss in our church, sojourners living in our house, hard decisions and a time of closeness to the Lord, like I've never experienced. God was so good in each of these situations. Now, it's time for a new year of adventures.
There is sin in my life that can't stay. Character flaws. Habits. Cravings. Idols. Selfishness. These things cannot stay. God is asking me to go beyond me, outside comfortable and do, daily, those things which are hard. And, in that way, 26 looks vastly different from 25. Just as your next year looks different than your last.