When a new year begins, it usually comes with the expectation of something new.
It’s as though January 1 should trigger a change of circumstances.
We all yell “Happy New Year!” and *BOOM* something new lands in our lap.
That’s how it goes, right?
For some, yes. But for many of us, not so much.
I’m one of those many. Perhaps you are, too.
Yes, a new year is an opportunity for new beginnings. It’s a chance to re-evaluate and set new intentions and habits for the areas of our lives that need it. It’s a chance to rewire the mindsets that didn’t serve us well in the year before.
But that doesn’t always translate to different circumstances. We may do all the things, trying to see change and yet, nothing happens. It’s just still the same old financial struggle, relationship tension, job insecurity and health battle.
If that’s you right now, you’re not alone.
And I want to tell you this – it’s okay if you walk into a new year and it doesn’t magically bring a new season.
It’s okay if the breakthrough you were hoping for hasn’t happened yet.
It’s okay if your prayers are still unanswered.
Just because the new hasn’t come yet, doesn’t mean it never will.
Who knows, maybe your new is arriving by Express Post next week. Maybe your new is taking a little longer to land, travelling by air mail. Simply trust that by the grace of God, it will come.
And there are a few things you can do as you faithfully wait to see your new season.
1. Believe God is doing something new
It may not look like it, but God is doing something new in you and for you. And when you truly believe that, it gets His attention in a big way.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)
As I sit here writing this, it’s the end of January 2023 and I’m (not so) patiently waiting for my new season. For the last three years, each year has begun with a rocky start and didn’t seem to get much better as the year went on. I would wait for change that never came.
It’s been disappointing, to say the least. I’ll be honest and say that it’s almost painful to start another year with faith and expectation, for fear my hopes may be dashed yet again.
But still, I do.
Why? Because I serve a God who is good and faithful. He’s proven that to me time and again, especially in the most difficult seasons.
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favour and honour; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.”
Psalm 84:11 (NIV)
So, I choose to believe that even though I don’t see it yet, God is up to something.
God is always doing something new, you just might not see it yet.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
As one of my favourite preachers, Stephanie Ike, shared in her sermon Stewarding Transitions, if you focus on your past (the pain, disappointment, discouragement), you’ll miss what God is doing now.
2. Ask God to show you what He’s doing now
As we just established, God is always on the move. We just need to see it.
And God doesn’t hesitate to help us see more of what He’s doing.
“The secret counsel of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he reveals his covenant to them.”
Psalm 25:14 (CSB)
Through prayer, we can ask God to reveal these things to us, so we don’t miss a thing and we make the most of our current season.
I recently came across an Instagram Reel (I wish I could remember who shared it!) and it was about how to respond to unanswered prayers. This lady shared three questions you can ask God in prayer:
- God, what do you want me to learn?
- How do you want me to grow?
- How do you want me to find you in new ways?
These questions shift your focus from your outer world to your inner world, which matters most to God.
“Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.”
Colossians 3:2 (NLT)
Once we’re able to see beyond the natural and recognise what God is doing spiritually, we can then partner with Him and do our part to see His plans become a reality in our lives. That starts with stewardship.
3. Steward what’s in your hands
Stewardship is defined as “the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care”.
There might be things you’re waiting for – maybe you expected to receive them by now. But there are also things God has already put in your hands that He’s asked you to steward.
What has God put in your hands that you can use right now?
If you see nothing moving forward in your life, or at least in certain areas, go back to the last thing God asked you to do – have you done it? Sometimes, God is waiting for us to fully (not partially) obey Him before he entrusts us with more.
“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
Matthew 25:21 (NIV)
Holy Spirit challenged me on this one recently. God has given me big dreams over the years, and I was questioning why I hadn’t seen much progress toward these dreams. He then asked what I’d been doing to steward them. Had I taken the next step? Sheepishly, I said no.
God rested His case.
In this first month of 2023, I’ve gone back to each of these dreams (with the help of Havilah Cunnington’s I Dream Big study) and asked God, “what step do I need to take next to steward this dream Your way?”
It might require investment, sacrifice and stepping outside your comfort zone (it probably will) but that’s part of the journey you get to go on with God.
You do your part and God does His part. Just keep showing up!
So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.
Galatians 6:9 (NLT)