Dear 2019,

You’re only three days old, which in human terms is probably too young to discern a personality. That doesn’t really matter anyway because though I don’t know exactly what you hold, past experience tells me you’ll offer good and hard, joy and struggle. Come what may, I’m praying you’ll be a year of experiencing the Kingdom of Jesus in new, wild, simple ways.

Earlier this week, as steam rose from a hot mug of coffee, I reflected on last year and entertained dreams and intentions for the next. During the last twelve months, I noticed, a longing had slowly surfaced. To put it frankly in present tense, I want to see Jesus’ kingdom in my life, in the lives of those around me, in the world. Don’t get me wrong: I have and I do, thank God. But for the Spirit to break into the everyday, like never before? A need to see what we read/know/discuss and reality marry so Jesus is the only explanation? Yes. More. Amen.

By the time I came to thinking about 2019, my coffee was cold at the bottom of the cup. Swirling the soupy grit, I contemplated what theme or word I could remember throughout the year, one that would set intention and shape decisions. This year, it’s a verse from the middle of Luke 12. The section starts out with reminders not to worry but instead trust our Father; after all, we’re worth more than birds and lilies. If we’re not primarily chasing changing trends, personal gain, or our world’s fickle kingdoms, what should be we seeking? God’s Kingdom first, Jesus says. And then a stunning promise:

Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Our longing, our lack is met in God. Friends, if He delights to give, show, grow the Kingdom—why in the world would we not seek? No fear, only freedom. No need for worry, for there’s grace. An already/not-yet Kingdom God’s pleased to give. One chapter earlier, Jesus assures those who seek will find. Because God delights in giving, we can confidently seek.

Honestly, as I write, I recognize I have many areas to grow in and things to learn. This is in-process, becoming. Experiencing more of the Kingdom in our reality seems exciting; however, I sense, learning from Jesus-followers in Acts, it will be glorious yet not easy. Instead of being paralyzed by the unknown or daunting, we can walk faithfully each day. May we pray for open eyes and be amazed. As we live in a Kingdom with a King who loves the world more than we ever could, may we learn the ethos of sacrifice together. May we learn from Jesus what it means to be human and what He meant when He said the Kingdom’s in our midst.

Eugene Peterson put it well: “[Don’t] be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving… Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions… Don’t be afraid of missing out… The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself.”

Dear 2019,

May this year show fruit of (to paraphrase Chance the Rapper) not believing in kings but believing in the Kingdom. I won’t fear. Instead, I will choose to trust my generous, compassionate King while seeking and living in His upside-down, unshakeable kingdom.