We spent the days before Christmas helping my brother and his family move into a new home. Most of the heavy lifting was done before we got there, but I was glad we were able to help clean up the rental house, unpack a few boxes and clear some of the chaos out of their new home.

Transitions can be so awkward. As this year comes to a close and a fresh new year begins, I am stuck here in the messy middle. (Shout out to my friend and fellow writer Amy Young.)

I don’t know about you, but I have unfinished business with 2014 – things on my to-do list that didn’t get crossed off.

to do list

My head is spinning just a bit. It’s like I’m surrounded by the last of the boxes in my brother’s old garage, and I have to decide what to take with me and what to drag out to the curb.

What should I load up and carry with me into the new year? Is there anything that needs to be packed up and put on a shelf in the storage room for a while? If these items on my to-do list were not important enough to accomplish last year, do I really need them on my list at all?

I feel a little anxious about these questions and these decisions. As hard as I try to push or pull, I can’t get some of these boxes to budge.

What I really want to do is sit down in this dusty, leaf-blown garage and have a good cry.

Jesus met a young man a lot like me. He had a list of things to do and things to not do and he was really good at sticking to the plan.

Jesus invited him to leave it all behind and follow Him. If he had, we may have learned his name. He could have been the 13th disciple – ready to step in and replace Judas before the book of Acts. But he declined when Jesus added another item to the list that he was not willing to cross off. (Mark 10:17-27 MSG)

“He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and not about to let go.” Mark 10:22 MSG

I see myself in this young man. Holding tight to both the things I’ve done and the things I have yet to do. Clinging to my list. Vowing to make it happen this year but simultaneously fearing that I won’t follow through. Feeling like giving up before I’ve even started. (Because why try when I couldn’t make it happen last year?)

Jesus and his disciples had a deep kingdom conversation about this man and his list. The disciples wondered out loud if he couldn’t cut it with all his rule following, with all his accomplishments, who stands a chance?

Jesus was blunt: “No chance at all if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you let God do it.” Mark 10:27 MSG

Jesus’ words spoken to his followers thousands of years ago still speak to me.

I don’t stand a chance on my own.

Forty-some years of history prove my in ability to cross it all off the list.

But that is only half of Jesus’ response.

Not a chance on my own, but every chance in the world IF…..

What an important word. If.

It all turns on two letters and I find hope.

I discover where my power lies in one small word.

Because “IF” means I get to choose.

“Every chance in the word IF you let God….”

Let go and let God. It doesn’t sound cliché today.

This book, my Bible, helps me breath again – helps me peel away the aching, clinging fingers of control and let go.

Are you ready to let go and let God do his work in your life this year?

Pray with me:

God, here is my list. You’ll notice some items dutifully cross off. Thank you for giving me the courage and strength to accomplish those goals. You’ll also notice some glaring items boldly uncrossed, unfinished, unaccomplished.  I give it all to you. Crossed-off, uncrossed and hasn’t-yet-crossed-my-mind. I trust you with this new year. Your will be done. Amen.