How to Live the Good Life This Year

Hey you there, writing out your new year’s goals and setting up lists of wild-eyed dreams for a purposeful year.

Did you stop to ask our Abba-Creator what He has in mind for you?

Or maybe you’re more the free spirit, determined to buck the trend and burn all lists. Let the year bring what it may, you’re making no plans because the adventure is in the not knowing.

Truth be told, maybe we’re all just a little behind, surprised that another calendar year has come around and wondering when we can catch our breath long enough to even think about tomorrow, let alone six months from now.

Me, I’m a list gal. So yeah, I’ve jotted down the possibilities for these next 360-something days but I also know enough now that come mid-March, there will be some left turn that I didn’t plan on and the whole thing goes out the window and good gracious why did I spend so much time planning?

I’m mulling this question as the days fly off the calendar and the big ball starts to drop: How do you live life on purpose while still staying light enough on your feet to dance wherever Abba leads?

Because it’s easy if you set the plans to paper to get tripped up when the ground shifts and the unmet expectations come crashing down. How many Decembers have you looked back and seen a year all played out just like you envisioned in January?

Yeah, you should buy a lottery ticket if you can confidently guess that one.

Me, this last decade has been nothing but years being turned inside out and shaken upside down until I gave up planning and just tried to hold on for dear life. And here’s the honest truth: every year has been the best one yet. Even the ones filled with tears and trembles through valleys of shadowy death.

Maybe there’s a hint to the answer of how to live in the pages penned by that bold-mouthed Rock in his first book. He’s writing to a people on the run, a People of the Cross far more intimately familiar with our Savior’s suffering than probably you or me.

“Whoever would love life and see good days….”

My Preacher-Dad, he breaks down the Greek for these words because that’s where there’s gold to be found.

“Love” here is Agape, that Greek word for self-sacrificing love. None of this YOLO and do what makes you happy. No, we’re talking about a love for life that has you pouring out and getting all sorts of misunderstood and overlooked because you’re seeking to give rather than take. A love that looks crazy foolish to a world hell-bent on serving self above all else.

“Life” here is the Greek Zoe which means, among a couple of definitions, “a life active and vigorous, devoted to God.” Whoever said following the Carpenter-Man was boring or slow clearly didn’t get to the end of the book. Because there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of room for sitting around and drowning in tears while you wait for your own special Red Sea parting.

And those good days? Yeah, it’s not our live-well-make-it-rich gospel being peddled around these days. It’s living out the goodness of Abba in our crazy busted up world. Bringing Heaven to Earth right in the middle of the mundane, the messy, the heavy and the downright ugly.

I don’t quite have it all sorted out but the pieces are starting to come together:

Our purposeful year comes in extravagantly and sacrificially pouring out our days in lively, on the go, vibrant devotion to our Creator-Father, flinging bits of the holy like flower petals at a wedding.

You know what that means, Mama? That means that all those dishes, diapering and moments of discipline on repeat, they’re the seeds for good days.

And you know what that means, Oh Weary Soul-Friend? This season of never-ending sorrow, of burdens heavier than you can bear, of gray skies is really the canvas on which to practice the art of loving life.

And me, with all the prayed-over lists and plans? It means a deep exhale, a sitting still more to hear the whispers of Abba showing me where to live out His goodness daily. Yeah, sometimes that’s going to look real exciting and other days, most days, the call is going to be turning the mundane into the sacred.

I can tell you first hand, you can get so busy for Jesus that you straight up miss Him. And wouldn’t that be the worst way to spend a year? Running hard after the lists and the activities but missing the Savior in it all.

So let’s take our plans, our no-ideas and hopes, our fears and our big question marks about this year and ask our Creator-Father to show us how to love life His way so that we can walk out the good days He has planned.

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9 thoughts on “How to Live the Good Life This Year

  1. Wow. That was good. Of course, the excitement of a new year, untracked paths, lists of the undone with the joy of doing is appealing but what matters most is the why of it, why is it so important? If it’s self driven, in 2 weeks the power of it cannot be sustained, but if it’s the call and will of God, we will walk and our shoes won’t fail us. He leads, we follow. Thank you Joanna for inspirational words that awaken, remind and console our hearts with rest and joy in our Lord.

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  2. Joanna… wherever did you learn to write like this ? Must be a gift from the Lord!
    Ya think?
    Thank you sweet lady….
    hugs …. Julie

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  3. Nice to see that someone is actually listening to some of those sermons I get to preach. You say it so much better! Can’t wait until the day you know how rich it feels to see your girls surpass you just like you’ve been praying they would all of their days. Love you, Jo.

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  4. Joanna, thank you for using your God-given gift of writing to encourage the blessed band of those who love and desire to live life in a manner worthy of the Savior. This morning I had eye surgery to correct a blocked tear duct and when I could see enough to read, found your post and was delighted to find in it much fodder for prayer for my new year. And so I prayed!
    May you and your little family experience a most blessed 2018. Hang in there on the gray days and follow your own good advice, culled from His excellent Word, dear friend. Know that you are making a difference for many and that you are doing what was planned for you long before you were born! Love you!

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    1. Oh thank you Dottie. This was such an encouragement to read. It’s my prayer that the words I write just point people back to Jesus!

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