What are your thoughts as we approach the New Year? Are you excited about fresh opportunities on future unblemished days? Or are you concentrating on the all too rapid end to another year? Are you determined that this year you will follow through on annual resolutions? Or do you wonder, “Why bother?”
If that final question is the one you’ve chosen, I understand. I’ve had years like that, too. But I refuse to stay in the emotional rut. As midnight December 31 chimes on my antique clock this year, I’m determined to hang onto Psalm 138:3–“When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted” (NIV).
Being “bold and stouthearted” doesn’t mean we are arrogant or self-centered. It just means we know who we are in the Lord—and we refuse to give in to paralyzing thoughts of inadequacy. Have you ever felt inadequate? Oh, I have! In fact, over the years and despite my supposed accomplishments, I struggle with who I think I should be as a Christian woman. After all, shouldn’t I be slim, silent and musically gifted? Well, none of those attributes describe me.
But I’m learning to encourage myself with the delicious thought that our heavenly Father creates individuals and not assembly line robots. Yes, I need to take care of my health and keep working on my weight, but it’s okay to be who I am.
As a fun reminder, I have on my desk a pint jar filled with old buttons. I found the jar in an antique shop one day when I was convinced I’d never fit the “proper woman” mold I felt others required of me. Two button jars were displayed on the store shelf. The first jar held perfect tiny pearl buttons. The second was filled with mismatched buttons of various colors. I pulled the second jar from its spot and smiled as I remembered my great-grandmother, Mintie Farley, who let me play with the contents of her blue mason jar during our Kentucky farm days. My five-year-old fingers would separate the buttons into various color piles and line up the big metal ones.
There in the antique shop, I turned the jar to study the pink buttons perhaps from a baby’s garment, the coarse browns from a worn-out work shirt, and the bright blues maybe from an old Sunday dress. But the button that captured my attention was the bold red, green, and purple square button that may have fancied up an otherwise drab winter coat. As soon as I saw that one, I took the jar to the cashier—and ignored the container of perfect pearl buttons.
Now, whenever I get into a “I’ll never be perfect” mood, I need only to look at that jar to be reminded life would be boring if we all were the same. So if you are a bold red, green, and purple “button” like me who doesn’t fit in the pearl-button world, rejoice! All of us are needed—and fit—in God’s perfect, interesting plan. Happy New Year!