3 Ways to Stay Expectant
We just spent a month expectantly waiting and preparing our hearts, celebrating the birth of Jesus. Some of us are still savoring slower days, board games, sweet treats, time off work and gatherings with family and friends. But eventually, there is a shift in our postures and attention. We go from thinking about the hope we have in Christ to what we hope will come in the new year. We begin to think about goals and our new “word” of the year.
We love the idea of a fresh start, a new calendar and a clean slate. We make goals and plans, but a couple of months into the new year (or just days if you are anything like me), our goals feel like a thing of the past, and the hope that felt so tangible just months before begins to feel distant.
How do we stay expectant and intentionally remember the hope we have as we wait for the second coming of Christ throughout our whole year?
3 Ways to Stay Expectant
- Remember gratitude.
“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalm 107:1 ESV).
Just before Advent, we celebrate Thanksgiving. While the holiday isn’t rooted in Christianity, it is a time to give thanks. It’s a time for believers to remember all God has done in our lives. Gratitude prepares our hearts for waiting.
At Christmas, we pause to celebrate the birth of Christ, but there are so many other seasons of waiting we face throughout the year. We wait for job promotions, houses, spouses and children, for loved ones who have been away to come home and for healing.
An easy way to make gratitude part of your daily life is to name three things you are grateful for every morning before beginning your day. Or, try starting a gratitude journal or gratitude text thread with a group of friends.
2. Remember to draw near.
“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8 ESV).
We become accustomed to drawing near to God in the weeks before Christmas. We purchase advent devotionals, light candles at church and sing Christmas hymns and carols. It’s easy to draw near because we do it collectively, but this kind of drawing near is needed year-round. We need to embed it intentionally within our days.
Whether listening or singing worship songs, reading scripture or praying, remember to draw near.
Do you have a commute to work? Try praying at the same place in your route every day; it’ll become a habit you look forward to and a set time with God. Often, it’s easy to do these things in the morning and check them off our list for the day. Make an effort to have a few of these throughout your day, even ending your day by drawing near to God.
3. Remember, we serve a limitless God.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” ( Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV).
Sometimes, I wake up ready to take on the day, only for it to become derailed by something out of my control, and eventually, I end up overwhelmed, tired and distracted. I constantly need the reminder that there is no end to God’s steadfast love or mercy to speak louder than my limitations. Otherwise, I’m quick to forget about hope. especially when my expectations rarely match my ideals.
Pray about what God would have you implement in the New Year to keep an expectant posture and remember the hope we have in Christ?
Sarah Nichols is a writer who loves encouraging women by sharing hope-filled stories that point others to Jesus. She lives in Tucson, AZ, with her husband and four kids. You can find more from Sarah at http://sarahnicholswrites.com.