Shewanda Riley

Shewanda Riley is the author of the Essence best-seller "Love Hangover: Moving From Pain to Purpose after a Relationship ends." She can be reached at preservedbypurpose@gmail.com, or on twitter @shewanda.

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” doesn’t just apply to Christmas. For college teachers, this phrase also applies to the end of any school semester. In my case, students are working hard to finish up paper assignments which lets me take the less stressful position of writing coach.

There is one peculiar thing that happens. With the end near, students who realize that they might not pass anxiously ask for extra credit to help them pass. Some even have a hard time focusing on the last few weeks of class work because of the distraction of the work that has not been done. Many admit that it was poor time management that put them behind.

I think we sometimes unintentionally poorly manage our spiritual time in much the same way. We wait until it seems as though things are at the breaking point and then we rush to God and ask for help. We pray only after someone has been sent to jail or after the bad diagnosis from the doctor. But by doing so, we may end up anxious and stuck in place where it’s hard to follow God into the future. Even worse, many of us can’t deal with the future and miss out on present blessings because we still haven’t let go of the past.

A few years ago, I was dwelling on something that I was worried could happen. I don’t even remember what it was but I do remember God’s response during my prayers: “Why are you worried what happened last year or what may happen next week? I’ve already taken care of those. Why don’t you follow me into 2006?” Since it was mid 2005 and I was bound by time and not the maker of it, I obviously couldn’t do that. Then the words of the praise song “Jehovah Nissi” came to my mind. “Jehovah Nissi you are our banner, you go before us and prepare the way.” I had to follow him in faith.

We are taught to follow God in faith and not by what we see or feel through scriptures like Isaiah 46:10: “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” We can follow confidently because God would never lead us somewhere where his grace can’t keep us.

Because he is not limited to time and he already knows what’s ahead, God can take care of the present, restore our past and prepare the future...all at the same time. With New Year’s coming up, we should keep that in mind as we put together resolutions for 2019. Many of those lists begin with very admirable goals. “I will start to exercise.” “I will pay off my credit cards.” Some of them will include things we didn’t get done in 2018. Here’s a thought: Think yourself about where you believe God already is concerning that thing…and try to meet him in there in faith.

Have a Blessed Christmas and Prosperous New Year!

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