“2016 is going to be the Year of Me” This phrase came up in a conversation I had a few years ago with a friend who stated this with much enthusiasm. Curious about what she meant and if she was going to all of sudden become extremely self-centered, I asked her what she meant. At first, she paused and said, “I’m going to focus on myself.” I then asked her what that would look like? She paused again and then explained that in the last year she’d made many sacrifices for her family and that she was going to spend this year focusing on herself.
On the one hand, I agreed that she should take some time to refocus on herself after years of giving so much to others. However, I also thought how the “ME” didn’t necessarily have to mean “me” in a selfish way but could also stand for something else. “ME” could also mean “Maximized Expectations.” Maximized means to make the most of something. For some, this means that even if you don’t get exactly what you want from God when you want it, you still win because you get the most while waiting for God’s blessings. You pray and seek His presence more while waiting. Eventually, there will be the manifestation of fruits of the spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23: “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
For some, the beginning of a new year is full of hope and anticipation and it is easy to maximize expectations. There is hope that the new year will be a different and much better one than the one that just ended. For some, there is anticipation of the weight that will be lost as a result of new diets and workout plans. For others, there is the anticipation about the new jobs that will come and new relationships that will manifest in the coming year.
Yet, for some, the beginning of the new year is quite depressing. Despite how hard they try; they can’t be hopeful about 2020 because 2019 was so bad. They may have suffered the loss of loved ones, end of relationships, loss of jobs and poor health. For them, the Year of “ME” might end up being a year of “minimized expectations.” Because of what has happened in the past, it is just too painful to hope for something and be disappointed again. The solution is then to not hope in anything at all.
Psalm 126:5-6 provides insight on how to maximize our expectations. Verse 5 states that “those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.” So many of us focus on where we are (tears) and miss praising God in advance for what the end will be (songs of joy). When you maximize your expectations, your focus shifts from the tears that you may have shed in the past or even the ones you may be shedding currently and towards the future songs of joy that God will ultimately bring to your heart to sing. Happy New Year 2020!
Shewanda Riley is a Dallas, Texas based author of “Love Hangover: Moving From Pain to Purpose After a Relationship Ends” and “Writing to the Beat of God’s Heart: A Book of Prayers for Writers.” Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @shewanda.