The Most Important Skill that Your 2018 Really Needs

Spun. 

Some guy with a mullet and loud voice had lobbed that one word my way back before the 21st century.

In all his 1989 wisdom, he had flicked his feathered hair back and snorted over a soggy cheeseburger in our hick town high school cafeteria and said “Yeah, that girl is right spun.

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2018 dawns 29 years later.

And it turns out that the prophet with the mullet has a point: I’m sorta spun – spun out by kids, by demands, by needs, by life.

The calendar fills like a pothole in a torrential gulley washer of a downpour.  The laundry basket keeps overflowing — okay, flooding — the mudroom.  There are the shelves spilling and the fridge emptying and the stove burning. And somewhere, there are people who can make New Year’s resolutions.

What if you just want your New Year’s Resolutions to be about One Revolution?

What if you just want to make one turn in a spinning world and find the certain equilibrium of center again?

On the second day of a new year, I can see it in the middle of a messy table –

what’s sitting there small and still at the center of the Advent wreath, the center of everything spiralling and spinning:

The Life Line of Jesus.

Even our calendars circle around this theology of time:

Thanksgiving, eucharisteo, always, always, precedes the miracle – and Thanksgiving always precedes Christmas, the miracle that Jesus comes, and right into our mess. And Christmas must precede the New Year, God with usor our messes would have no hope for a new year, no hope for anything being made new.

I pick up the Jesus at the centre, turn the smallness of Him over in my hands… I hold the memory, the seed.

And the wonder Christmas whispers it right into the pragmatism of my New Year:

Is Jesus merely useful to you — or is He ultimately beautiful to you?

When Jesus is useful to me, I’m looking for a genie in a bottle, to give me the life I want.

When Jesus is beautiful to me, I’m looking for His face in my life, to give Him the love I feel.

When Jesus is merely useful to me, I want Him to move my world.

When Jesus is ultimately beautiful to me, it’s my heart that is moved – and this begins to change the world.

When I see Jesus as useful, He’s a gadget to make my life better. When I see Jesus as beautiful, He’s a joy that makes my heart sing louder….

Am I a Jesus-user?

Or a Jesus-adorer?

I turn that nativity Jesus over again and again in my hands. How do we stop being a bunch of Jesus-users? When did Jesus become more about business-like benefits to us instead of The Beautiful who calls us Beloved? The lights are still serenading in the tree.

And I wrap my fingers around that nativity in my hand.

Looking for the beauty of Christ in the everyday isn’t some quaint exercise in poetry. It’s a critical exercise in not being dead — of being resurrected.  

Your new life, which is your real life, …. is with Christ.

He is your life.

When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you…”  ~ Colossians 3 MSG.

In a new year, the only hope of a new me, is only Christ in me.

The most important life skill to have in 2018 is to live aware that Jesus is the only life we have.

Nothing will happen this year apart from Him. Nothing will be remade, nothing will be transformed, nothing will be satisfying apart from Him. Jesus is the only life I have. His shed blood is the only blood I have. His given heart is the only heart I have. His identity is the only real identity I have.

The most important skill to have in 2018 is paying attention to Jesus — nothing else is worth spending your one beautiful year on. And the soul solution that  we really need is preaching Jesus to ourselves.

I sweep needles out from under the Christmas tree, and it’s like finding the needle in the hay stack, finding what I need for a new year. It’s all getting simpler:

Just  be with Jesus.

Listen to Jesus. Rest in Jesus.

Wait for Jesus. Be Loved by Jesus. Wonder over Jesus. Live through Jesus.

When who Jesus is overwhelms you — nothing that happens can overcome you.

Steep your soul in Jesus and nothing is too steep to overcome.

Maybe that fresh white canvas of 365 days that I am terrified to ruin?

The commitments, the kids, that I fear I am going to fail? The impossible mountains that lie ahead of me?

It was like the Father hushing all my fears as I stepped into a new year:

 

Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you?”  2 Corinthians 13:5

Mount Everest in front of you?  But “Christ Jesus is in you!”

The wilderness stretched before you?  But “Christ Jesus is in you!”

The Red Sea staring like a wall ahead of you? But “Christ Jesus is in you!”

When your new year is about making a revolution around Jesus — you are given everything you need to keep your resolutions.

Everything boils down to one plan, one word, one commitment, just to keep whispering this over & over again: Jesus.

Time with Him, keeping company with Him, walking with Him, resting in Him, living in Him, growing in Him, changing in Him, becoming like Him.

Caleb’s at the back door, headed to the shed, when I holler after him, ask if he can make me a bracelet like he did last year – a bracelet with one word.

A bracelet for the woman who had been described with that one word: spun.

“That’s all you want on it? Just that one wordJesus?”

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Just –
Jesus.
No Additives.
Pure Grace.

All you need.

When I long for nothing else, desire nothing else, hope for nothing else, but Jesus — I have everything I ever hoped for.

This isn’t Sunday School cliché – this is real world oxygen. Try standing at a grave without Him. Try walking out of the doctor’s office without Him. Try picking through the minefield of life without clinging to Him. Try it – who knows how 2018 could explode?

Jesus is not only our only way back to truly finding God — He is our only way back to truly finding ourselves.

So on the second day of the new year, I wear His name on my wrist to remind me who I am. I pray His name gets pressed right into my paper thin skin. I pray I get branded. Marked. I don’t know what else a new year needs: Intimacy with Jesus results in ultimately being like Him.

What had Ignatius said?

My dear Jesus, is so deeply written in my heart, that if my heart were to be cut open and chopped to pieces, the name of Jesus would be found written on every piece.”

That. The world can wax loud. The world can go ahead and explode. Just give me that — Let the name of Jesus be written so deep into me that my heart could explode and His name would be found on every shard. 

All there is to see is Jesus.

For others to see Jesus in me. For me to see Jesus in othersAll there is to be is Jesus.

For everyone, the call is to be Jesus. And to respond to Jesus in everyone.

All there is to mirror Jesus. Mirror to everyone the face of Jesus… And see everyone as mirroring the face of Jesus.

Whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus…”  Col. 3:17

“Whatever you do, work willingly, as though you were working for the Lord Jesus Col. 3:24

The New Year just got ultra-simplified:

Do everything as Jesus.
Do everything to Jesus.
8 words.

And the grace to actually do the everything?
Just One Word: Jesus.

I spin one bracelet, with my one word for the year, on my wrist…

The world — the year —  could spin…

and even if it spun like it might explode…

the year has His love holding us like an anchor at the center and we’re all held….

 

Related:
Need freedom not only beyond the fear & pain, but actually  within it? The Broken Way 
Give yourself the gift of grace that He already has — and give yourself the beauty of: Be the Gift
The answer to anxiety is the adoration of Christ… and my story of just that: One Thousand Gifts 
and the 60 DAY DEVOTIONAL with 1000 numbered lines to count your #1000gifts: One Thousand Gifts Devotional: Reflecting on Finding Everyday Graces

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