I’ve been busy this past year assigning names to things I went through. The list was long, filled with unfriendly designations like Frustrating, Exhausting, Debilitating, Incredulous and Difficult. Of course I did have a few well-named friends in the year. Joyful made an appearance when my son married in February. Blessed entered the room several times when my youngest daughter went to school, did well and made friends. Comforted soothed me at Christmastime when I spoke with my grandchildren and saw them (via video) open their presents.
A great part of the year, however, was overshadowed by the presence of unwelcome visitors. Their shadows extending long, obscuring the joy I felt when meeting with my well-named friends. I struggled to make little of their presence. I tried avoiding them much like you would avoid a someone at a social gathering who is known for making any conversation dreary with their complaints.
We’re only two days into 2021, the year is in its infancy, but 2020’s shadow threatens to impinge our view of 2021. The darkness of the previous year is attempting to fill our new year with party crashers.
… I want to put bouncers at the door to check everyone’s ID.
By the end of last year, my room was filled (no social distancing). The presence of many unwelcome names and party crashers, made seeing the invited guests difficult.
Choose My Friends Well
One of the challenges I’ve faced when living authentically before the world is being polite about it. While I’ve lived a few years, I’m not about to announce online exactly how many, I still wrestle with being myself in front of others. This makes it difficult to choose my friends well. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings!
Every personality quiz/test/tool I’ve taken puts me into a similar category. Years ago I was categorized as a “melancholy” personality. Later on when the DISC personality test was popular, I was a strong “DS”. This meant as a “D” personality, I was a leader. However, the “S” in me would make me apologize for having to lead. More recently, my Enneagram number is 2w1. As a 2w1, I’m someone who fears being unwanted (especially by those I love) and live to care for others.
Therefore, closing doors on unwelcome visitors is not a skill set that I naturally possess.
The Room Is Empty
Now, I’m standing at the doorway of 2021. In my hand, I have a list of names that are welcome into the room that I’ll be occupying.
Sure, there will be party crashers trying to fill my room this year. That goes without saying! The question is who will I allow to enter? What will I do when:
- worldwide pandemic closures threaten my plans?
- I am not happy with world events?
- unexpected tragedy strikes?
- the possibility of not being able to travel to see family arises?
- no one recognizes sacrifices I make?
Name Your Guests
There will be times of joy this year. These guests will be most welcome to my party. It’s very important, as I’m learning, to name your guests wisely.
Now he called his name Noah, saying, This one will give us rest (comfort us) from our work and from the toil of our hands arising from the ground which the Lord has cursed.Genesis 5:29
Noah was born into a family that was ready to welcome comfort. The world had gone crazy (sound familiar?), people no longer cared about God and were uninterested in anything He had to say.
Noah’s parents looked forward to raising him as raising a child would give them purpose in the middle of their surroundings. They chose to name him well, he was meant to comfort them.
Noah’s destiny, while invisible to his parents at his birth, followed him from birth to the ark and beyond.
Comfort means the easing or alleviation of a person’s feelings of grief or distress. Noah accomplished this at his birth, his parents were comforted. In the ark, he eased God’s pain in following His commands when the rest of the world refused to.
Watch The Door
I imagine it was difficult for Noah in the moment to stand up to the ridicule he faced while building the ark. He must have had naysayers upon naysayers, but he didn’t allow them into his room. He kept on building the ark.
When the time came, Noah and his family were found in the ark, safe from the destruction that came to the earth.
In much the same way that Noah was saved by entering the ark with his invited guests and family, we can enter into our safety (an ark if you will) by watching the door of who enters into our lives. Noah’s list was a bit bizarre, wildebeest, pangolins, macaws and pigeons. Nevertheless, those bizarre guests were the ones who sustained him, gave him purpose and comforted him throughout the long process he and his family had to endure during and after the floods.
Those who we allow entrance this year are the ones who will make the year make sense. They are the ones who will fill our lives with purpose. It’s very important to keep our focus on our task at hand. What society’s task is is vastly different to what our as believes is. Society tells us that it’s only “right” to “stand up” and be angry when we experience what we perceive to be wrong.
Jesus, however, doesn’t follow buzzwords or hype.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.Matthew 5:38,39
My guest list to this year’s party has been refined. I’m looking for what will comfort me in an increasingly upside down world. I’m looking to gain satisfaction in seeing others helped and grow instead of following the bandwagon chasing after the most recent buzzwords.
So to all of you struggling to enter the New Year with Joy (someone on my guest list), I say choose wisely! Allow Joy in and stop Cynicism at the door. Welcome Determination and kick Depression to the curb. Those in the room will fill you with purpose and help you stay focused as the wind and waves outside rage.
Welcome 2021, I’m ready for you.