As January comes to a close, we have the opportunity to take stock once again of our hopes for the New Year. In January, we've had a season when we take inventory of what we have gained and lost from the year behind. The start of a new year brings about a fresh opportunity to wipe the slate clean and embark on a journey toward a "better measure." For many it is a time of setting goals, resolutions and starting health plans to leave a little wiggle room in our clothes.
Many of us have taken stock of our physical health. But have we also taken mental, emotional and spiritual inventories? Twelve months of living takes us through many highs and lows. In twelve months we encounter loss, birth, victories, defeats, mellow days and fun, energetic days. Many ups. Many downs.
With all of the ups and downs of life, what scale are we to use to measure the value or impact of our life? What scale are we to use to measure how far we have come?
Sometimes I think that we are prone to measure our lives by what we don't have, not by what we do have. We measure our lives by what we lack instead of by the gifts, and blessings we have been given. We measure by what we can't do, instead of what we can do.
Like modern day Christians, Sarai, the matriarch of God's covenant with Abraham, took stock of her life and saw barrenness. When she looked, she did not like what she saw and she could not align her circumstance to God's promise. And so she acted as a woman with a broken, impatient heart. She acted like the modern day believer and took matters into her own hands.
As Abram's wife, Sarai was the vessel through which God was going to bless the entire earth. Why? Because He promised He would do it. When? They did not know when His promise would be set in motion.
I see Sarai as a woman who so desperately wanted to believe in God's promise that she could not be patient for His timing. Sarai was desperate for a child. When Sarai measured her life, she took her eyes off of God's promise, and what He was capable of, and all she could see was her lack.
Sarai boisterously proclaimed to her husband, "The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her" (Genesis 16: 2 NIV). Her desperation took her to a place of blame. And then to a place of conceit. Sarai grew impatient with God—for him to move on His promise to them before it was too late.
Funny thing is, it's never too late when God is in control. When He makes a promise to us, the why and when are not usually explained. That is what faith is. God's promises are the measure by which we can take account of our lives.
If we could sit down with Sarai, turned Sarah, today, I wonder what advice she may have for us? The great and wise teacher, hindsight, I am certain would speak on her behalf. What wisdom she must have gained from living life under a promise, the patience and impatience to live through it, and the hardship that came from trying her hardest to set in motion the spoken promise of God.
The good news is that the start of the new year is not the only time we can pause and measure our lives. My challenge to you today and going forward is to know what God's measure is. When He looks at us He sees His wonderfully made creation: the gifts, the promises, the blessings, the blood of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. He doesn't dwell on our depravity. He looks at His ability to move and to work. He is comfortable with His ability to make beauty out of ashes.
Let the caliper you measure your life by be set to the same gauge that your Heavenly Father measures by. In 2019, may we measure our intake of the bread of life, the holy word of God, and His promises for us, instead of being consumed with a diet.
What's been your measure for your life? How will the gauge by which you measure your life change in 2019?
—Stephanie Winslow, author of Ascent to Hope: The Rugged Climb from Fear to Faith writes to arm others with support and encourage Christian families struggling with addiction to let go of fear and find peace in relationship with Christ.
Stephanie Winslow is also the Founder and Principal Consultant at Blind Spot Consulting. Stephanie helps non-profit and for-profit organizations develop and implement Strategic Plans, Develop Training Systems and improve overall business processes with a focus on Employee Development. She is also the co-founder of New Dominion Healing Center, a whole person health collaborative.
Prior to her current adventures, Stephanie was the President of a floral packaging manufacturer and distributor. Stephanie also held several positions at a family owned human food and pet food packaging company, where her business career commenced. Her business experience spans from cost estimating, to organizational health. Before working in the packaging industry, Stephanie taught high school Spanish and was a college campus minister.
Mrs. Winslow holds a MA degree in Higher Education from Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, OH, with a degree in Spanish. Stephanie holds a Lean / Six Sigma Certificate under the Advance Manufacturing Specialist Training Program of Missouri Enterprise. She is certified as a Faith and Health Ambassador through the Faith and Health Connection.
Stephanie resides in St. Louis, MO with her husband Marshall, an IT Analyst for the Health Care Industry. They have two daughters. Stephanie enjoys cooking healthy meals, coffee, trail running, and yoga pants. She loves volunteering frequently at her daughters' school. Together, the Winslow's enjoy to spend time traveling, hiking, playing board games and painting.