The landscape ahead of you alters as you travel deeper into the unexplored. The familiar terrain changes, becoming more rough and less defined. You can feel the cold of winter setting in. Deep inside, you prepare yourself for the unexpected. You’ve never been to this place before. The road lies before you as an unknown path, leading across the distant horizon. Once you reach what appeared to be the edge, the landscape expands once again. Changing. It will soon change again. And again. Still, you continue on. The road before you, though barren and desolate, leads to a place that only you can go. It never remains the same. This is the journey of life, and this is your journey.
This illustration paints an allegorical image of where each of us are right now as we enter a new year, leaving the previous one
behind to solidify into the collection of memories and events called history. People say that hindsight is 20/20, meaning that a period of time cannot be accurately assessed until afterwards, and there is much truth to it. Having survived the challenging previous year, many of us feel weary and less hopeful regarding the future. As always, we are entering unknown territory. It’s difficult to know what to anticipate as the numbers that section off time change again by one digit. Should we dare be optimistic? Perhaps it’s safer altogether to remain as we are, not challenging ourselves to go beyond the level of comfort that we’re familiar with. What if the economy continues to slide south? What if we slip closer into oblivion? These are all legitimate concerns, of course. What’s easy to forget is that we, like the large collection of atoms and elements beneath us called the Earth, were created. We were forged by the limitless power of the Everlasting to live lives of purpose and destiny. This has never changed.
Many of us don’t feel particularly purposeful. Not yesterday or today. Regardless, the living God tells us to press on. We are encouraged to ‘press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling...forgetting those things that are behind” (Philippians 3:14). This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t remember our past, but that we shouldn’t allow it to limit or hold us back from moving forward. It’s easier by far to remain where we are, not challenging ourselves to go beyond the place of familiarity. It’s human nature. Yet, the Spirit of truth whispers ‘go on.’ He calls us to go to a new place. The beginning of a new year is a time for new beginnings. It's a time to reassess our lives, and to make decisions that take us where we're destined to go, just as our individual destinies are written upon our hearts.
Each one of us are uniquely created and gifted to demonstrate the beauty of the eternal in our daily lives. It’s only a matter of filtering out the negative voices, and surrendering to the still, small voice of God. The world around us wills that we bow down to it’s limited, confining structure. The yearly trend of new year’s resolutions will soon pass by, with many determined this will be the year they’ll loose weight, get healthier, save more money, get a better job, and so on. Although each of these goals have value, they aren’t an end in themselves. We should transcend all this, and go farther. It’s not too late. Let us live out our dreams this year, and allow ourselves to be inspired. Let’s go wholeheartedly into the unknown. This is the adventure of our journey. This is what we were created for.
(This article was originally published in December, 2012 on The Examiner website.)