As I reflect on the uncertainty of 2013 and the experiences of the 2012, I believe this borrowed British slogan is quite appropriate for the start of a new year of blogging… and living. It is fitting that I remind myself, and you my faithful reader, that as we enter the impending future, we “Keep Calm and Carry On.”
The slogan “Keep Calm and Carry On” was developed in 1939 as a way to boost the public morale as Britain sat on the brink of war with Germany. It was designated the last of three war slogans to be used, and it was only to be distributed in time of extreme peril or invasion. The first two (“Freedom is in Peril. Defend it With All Your Might” and “You Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory.“) were widely distributed and were meant to call men to action. To call them to rise up and fight! The third was meant to call men to faith. To a steady, persevering faith. Faith in their King, their country, their fellow man, and ultimately, to all the events and forces which could not be seen at work around them, to faith in God. And yet it was the only slogan never used. Men were called to action but few to patience of faith.
Sitting on the brink of a new year, we too are called by slogans and appeals towards action. What are New Year Resolutions if not a call to pick up arms and push forward, to resist! We challenge ourselves and others to be better, do more, to reach for the stars. It is a call of self reliance. A call to dig within the human conditions and find power to better ones self. Oprah would say, “Own your power.” However, the deeper we dig and the more we rely on ourselves the more we understand that we just can’t do it. That “I” do not have everything within me that I need. That I need more, I need God.
In thinking back I 2012 I can’t imagine what the year would have been like without my faith in God and my relationship with Jesus Christ. There were times when I reached deep within myself to find the power and strength to get through only to realize there was nothing left. I was out! Then I found that God was there waiting for me with His strength, His power, and His peace. It was only when I let go of relying on myself and trusted in Him that I was sustained. As I strove for action God called me to rest and peace. As I sought to better myself God called me to have faith in Him. As all around me called me to rise up and fight, God called me to faith, a steady persevering faith.
Now, at the beginning 2013 I want to do so relying on God and growing in my faith. There were challenges and disappointments in the last year that may continue into the new one, yet I know God has a plan far greater than anything I could hope to accomplish within my own power. As the world may call me to self reliance and action, God is saying, “Keep Calm and Carry On.” Remember who I am in Him and in whom I find my strength, peace, and joy. While action will be called for in the coming year, it will be built upon and powered by, a steady faith in God.
There are four passages of Scripture that God has place on my hear for the coming year.
Romans 8:28. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
Jeremiah 29:11. “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”
Matthew 6:25-34. “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will beadded to you. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
These passages remind me to “Keep Calm and Carry On.” They help me to understand that 2013 does not belong to me, but to God. I have desires, dreams, and goals just as others do, but I must remember that no matter what happens God is in control and as I move into this new year steady in my faith and seeking to grow in my relationship with Jesus Christ, He will work things together for my good (and His glory) even if they’re not necessarily in my plans.