It is December 31, 2019 and I find myself on a plane accompanied by my wife of just one week, flying home from Portugal. The plane is quiet as many passengers sleep, while others are occupied with various devices of one kind or another. We are somewhere over the Atlantic and the clear skies offer an unobstructed view of the expanse of the ocean. Each passing moment brings the coast of North America closer and with it, thoughts of the new year and the routines of normal life.
For the past 35+ years it has been a privilege and honour to write a new year’s message for whatever community I found myself working. Sometimes I’ve tried to make predictions for the coming year; at other times I would share resolutions which were often futile attempts at life improvement.
As I stare out of the window of the plane on this cusp of this new year, my thoughts go not to predictions or resolutions, but to the words of the writer of Lamentations. These are words that formed Marlene and my wedding text and still fill my mind today:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning, great is His faithfulness.
There are three important truths that come out of this text that I pray will resonate with you as you contemplate your leadership journey in 2020.
First, as you begin this first working day of 2020, know that you are loved. Not some halting or failing love, but the steadfast love of our Heavenly Father. No matter what else comes in the year before you, He loves you steadfastly and without fail. In responding to that truth, I encourage you to steadfastly love those around you, even when they are at their least loveable.
Second, may you accept the mercy of God as you realize you are not as perfect as you and others expect you to be. Micah 6:8 reminds us to love mercy! We are pretty tough on ourselves, setting high standards for our work and behavior. The vast majority of those we lead also hold themselves to a high standard. While this is a good thing overall, it can be difficult when we “mess up” and the imperfections show themselves. In these moments, be ready to receive God’s mercy, and be deliberate in extending the same to others.
Third, believe and trust in God’s faithfulness. It is my life experience that as I reflect back, I can acknowledge one thing for sure: God’s faithfulness. Some years have gone better than others. Some have had more human-measured success. Some years have been difficult, dominated with times of sorrow, conflict, or even brokenness. More years have been joyful and celebrative. However, through it all, I can see God’s faithfulness woven throughout. His purposes are fulfilled. Often in spite of our feeble efforts, and sometimes alongside our strong efforts, we look back and say, “but for God this would not have worked.” Trust that He will be faithful always.
Edvance’s collective theme this year is to encourage you to be strong and courageous in your leadership journey. I pray that as you enter 2020, His love, His mercy and His faithfulness will be the foundations of where you find your strength and courage. May His blessings be upon you in this new year.