Beginning a New Year

This week on the Allender Center Podcast, Dr. Dan Allender invites us to consider how we step into a new year with intentionality, curiosity, and faithfulness. Dan’s approach to this conversation was framed by less than ideal circumstances: he recorded this podcast in a hospital waiting room on Christmas day, the fifth day in the hospital as his daughter Annie fought to recover from a collapsed lung.

“The whole process has been really, really long. That intersection of intense fear met with dull, distracted disengagement provides a context for me to talk about how to anticipate planning for the coming year.”

As we move into 2017, Dan encourages us to take stock of our present circumstances as well as our deep, God-given desire for what we would like to see change. With our circumstances and desires in mind, Dan says it is crucial that we invite Jesus to speak into what we can anticipate and plan for in the months ahead.

“It is easier to get distracted than to actually listen to what my heart desires. […] The dilemma with desire, as we all know, is the fact that it leads us so often to uncertainty or to disappointment. Desire opens our heart to a level of struggle that to engage, for most of us, feels like profound foolishness.”

“What is it that Jesus is most after with regard to your own life in this year?”

For Dan, this season marks one of the least busy times he has experienced in years, with no major tasks on the horizon—after a year marked by huge, consuming projects. He keeps coming back to the idea of being fallow: like a field that has been plowed but is lying unplanted, allowing for renewal that will foster future productivity and creativity.

I am meant, in the year 2017, to become a man who knows how to wait faithfully.

Trusting in the goodness of God for the year ahead requires the ability to remember, says Dan. “My heart needs to know that I have seen goodness and that I will be part of goodness again.” The bottom line is that goals and resolutions will come and go. “The larger calling is for us to listen to Jesus, to be in a place where we do well in reading our own circumstances.”

“May this year be full of the level of surprise and delight, goodness and honor, and yet in the hardship and heartache and difficulty, may you make a kind of command as to who you wish you will become and what your heart will be as you enter into this year.”