What Do You Want?

The Crucial Question for Beginning a New Year: What Do You Want?

What do you want in 2023? Most of us will come up with a long list of things. Possessions, jobs, relationships, goals–hey, it’s a new year, and hope is in the air!

I wonder, though, if any of our things have any resemblance to the things God recommends to us in this collection of Scripture verses:

One thing have I asked of the Lord,
    that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
    and to inquire in his temple.

Psalm 27:4

What are you seeking?
Where is your gaze falling?

And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, ‘You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’”

Mark 10:21

What lack would Jesus discover in your devotion to him?
And remember–He looks at you with love, too.

One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Philipppians 3:14-15

I have a tendency to lose sight of the one thing because of the clutter of many things.
Do you ever practice sorting through the many things by asking yourself, “Is this mine to do?”

Kierkegaard put it this way: “Purity of heart is to will one thing.” For the believer, that “one thing” is the glory of God. Whatever assignment comes your way in 2023, will you receive it as having come for your eternal good and for God’s glory?

Kierkegaard said, “Purity of heart is to will one thing.” For the believer, that one thing is God’s glory. Whatever assignment comes in 2023, will you receive it as having come for your eternal good and for God’s glory?

What Do YOU Want in 2023?

I want to bring a quiet heart into this new year.

As a young woman in 1947, Elisabeth Elliot wrote a prayer/poem expressing that same desire

“Lord, give to me a quiet heart
That does not ask to understand,
But confident steps forward in
The darkness guided by Thy hand.”

A quiet heart may depend on your disposition toward the “things” you’re asking God for in 2023.
A quiet heart comes with the glad surrender of all we are, all we have, all we do, and all we suffer–not as a bargaining tool to gain (somehow!) God’s approval, but as a loving response to the one who loved us first.

A prayer for 2023: “Lord, give to me a quiet heart that does not ask to understand, but confident steps forward in the darkness guided by Thy hand.” #ElisabethElliot @EElliotFdn

Who Do You Want to BE in 2023?

Maybe the better question for a new year is “Who do you want to be?” After feeding the 5,000, Jesus revealed to his disciples that his food, his crucial nourishment came from doing the will of God. This was his daily bread, and his desire flowed from who he is.

Paul picks this up in his letter to a fledgling church:

For this is the will of God, your sanctification…”

1 Thessalonians 4:3

In 2023, my goal is to focus on who God wants me to BE. I want my daily prayer to be, “Show me how I can live in holiness today. Show me not just what I should do, but who I should be. Draw me into an increasing reflection of the radiance of the Son.”

Together, let’s slow down, paying attention to each day as it slips through our fingers like a bead on a string. Let’s ask God to “teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Be watching for a monthly post and free resources throughout the year, inviting you to join me in this quiet discipline.

Teach us to number our days

A Brand New Book for a Quiet Heart

Although she passed away in 2015, Elisabeth Elliot continues to speak truth into my life through her books. I continually reread her work and refer back to her thoughts to enrich my own writing and teaching.

Her new book has come as a total surprise and unexpected blessing to readers! A long-forgotten Word document reached the attention of the Elisabeth Elliot Foundation, and when they discovered that it was unpublished material, they collaborated with DaySpring to publish the collection of thirty-one devotionals that comprise Heart of God.

Elisabeth’s ministry and message were permeated with the truth that a biblical understanding of God’s character will shape the believer’s response to suffering. With God’s love as a foundation, genuine trust and obedience follow–not as a requirement for salvation, but as evidence of our heart’s devotion.

With this in mind, Elisabeth examines the heart of God in the shimmering light of Scripture, turning it to examine its many facets, and to our surprise, we learn that God is both caring and just. He is humble, grace-filled, and peace-giving without lessening or diluting his transcendence or his transforming power.

Elisabeth’s rich practice of reading both deeply and widely shows up in the collection of quotations that accompany each reading. Her high view of scripture is contagious and informs every word, making this unexpected addition to my Elisabeth Elliot library a beautiful and reliable source of inspiration and encouragement for my following life.

Elisabeth Elliot’s new book (a surprise blessing!) examines the heart of God in the shimmering light of Scripture. @EElliotFdn @DaySpring #HeartofGod #ElisabethElliot

Holding you in the Light,

My first post of 2023 was a collection of blessings to pray over your loved ones at the beginning of the new year. I’ve made them available in printable format for your convenience, so to access your copy, simply click on Download or on the Printer Icon.

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Photos by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

21 thoughts on “The Crucial Question for Beginning a New Year: What Do You Want?”

  1. There are so many nuggets of truth and knowledge in this post. Your questions really are helping me to pause to remember that it is all about God and not me, whether the calendar has turned to a new year or not.

    I also love your love of Elisabeth Elliot and am excited about her new book.


    1. I’m so aware that my tendency is towards doing. And it’s so crucial that our actions flow from who we are in Christ. The goal is authenticity. And Christlikeness! So thankful for your friendship in this following life.


  2. Such a refreshing post about what we wish for in the new year. Thank you for grounding us in the fact that we should number our days to present a heart of wisdom to God. I have always loved that verse and its call on my daily life..


  3. I enjoyed reading this entry. God does slow us down for a reason. We might not understand His reason, but it becomes clearer as we learn to obey Him. Thank you for sharing from your heart.


  4. The question you pose reminds me of the Lord promising Solomon whatever he wished, and Solomon wanted wisdom. Your desire for a quiet heart–to be–sounds very wise indeed, Michele.


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