Eternity in Our Hearts

Bringing what endures into everyday life

My Wish for Us in the New Year


Every now and then, when driving, I realize that I’ve traveled a distance without being consciously aware of surrounding sights and sounds. (Does this ever happen to anyone else?) The radio is playing as usual, and my car traverses the intended course, and – as far as I know – I’ve observed all traffic laws.  All of the senses commanding my vehicle, however, are seemingly on auto-pilot.

This time, the real action was going on inside my mind, driving me further down a regretful road of would-haves, could-haves, and should-haves, and a remembrance of all my shortcomings and doubts was buckled securely in the passenger seat.

When I “came to,” I heard O Holy Night on the radio and reached to change the station. (Though O Holy Night is a cherished hymn of Christmas ages, I confess it’s not a personal favorite. Who – except those with voices that belong in the heavenly chorus – can hit all those notes?) But my ears – and my heart – heard this, as if for the first time:

Long lay the world in sin and error pining, Till He appear’d and the soul felt its worth.

As we welcome a new year, when we typically choose our resolutions or our “one-word,” I want this ‘the soul felt its worth’ – this reason for the incarnation – to inhabit my heart.  This one phrase was a gift to me in the moment, yet my soul needs more than momentary relief. I need to re-open the truths of who I am in Christ every day.

And I think of my daughter and my mother and my family & friends and you, dear readers, and I ask the Holy Spirit to transform us with the truth that those in grace are not the achievers but the receivers. Grace doesn’t say “if only you had kept last year’s resolutions” or “what if you don’t deserve love?” Grace comes to us only in the “what is” – the unstoppable, unchanging, unrestricted love and favor of God.

And so, may our souls deeply feel their worth in Jesus, the One who loves and redeems us. In the year to come, it remains true – our acceptance in Christ doesn’t depend upon our achievements.  The Father purchased our souls with the priceless, life-giving blood of His Son. Once we’ve received this gift, there is no failure, no disappointment, no would-have, could-have, or should-have on our parts that can invalidate it.

Rather than resolving to fix ourselves, may we fix our eyes on the One who clothes us in His peace and righteousness. I wish for you and for me the kind of release that comes when we live for Christ, not under a yoke of compulsion, but with a heart compelled by love to worship and serve Him. May we always reach to change the station when our inner critics hit the airwaves. Let us rest in the understanding that our worth lies not in what we do but only what He has done, and may each day find us receiving more of His grace-gift.

What’s more, understanding the worth of souls is understanding that Christ died for our neighbors and the sex slaves and the orphans and the refugees and the people of a different color or nationality or faith.  May that truth transform how we see and treat life – whether young or old; rich or poor; able-bodied or impaired; slave or free; weak or strong.

And may worship happen as we live our lives as the image-bearers, offering our souls the space to breathe and receive grace, allowing God to design the canvas, yielding to the vision of the Artist, and ascribing all worth to Him. The weight of maintaining self-worth is more than we are meant to bear, and we will never have true peace or satisfaction until our souls turn to the purest, most-worthy Object of our worship. The beauty of our lives is drawn out of our response to God, and He meets us, not just on Sundays (and not only if our voices hit the high notes).

May our worship – our ascribing worth to God – be deeply drawn and offered from a place of receiving and honoring worth in our and every soul.

Author: Renee Ratcliffe


19 thoughts on “My Wish for Us in the New Year

  1. This is such a life-giving, beautifully-truthful post. Thank you for sharing your heart through your words. I’m so glad I followed you at Kelly’s today. May God bless you in the new year with more of Him!

  2. Amen! Renee, this is so beautiful and important. For all of this, I was going “yes, yes, yes!”

  3. Thank you so much for this. Renee, it is so much about receiving. How right you are! Thank you for encouraging us all. Cheering you on…

  4. Truly touching, your words, today in my own soul-seeking. Sometimes we don’t know even that we are soul-seeking, but that has to be part of that Imago Dei that you mentioned. The longer I look to the Lord to meet me on this daily journey, the more I realize the depth of each facet of His image that we can wear. It astounds me, surprises me, and today, I am blessed having found a reflection of His heart here in your words. Thank you for writing in that trueness of honest hope, to be a vision of His light in your sphere of influence. Beautiful words!

  5. Renee, how timely, as I read I exhaled the release my soul was needing – the last 24 hours had me exhaling just to keep breathing and to keep from gritting my teeth too tight. The timely reminder to put it all in His worthy hands and fold mine in prayer because after all, He’s got this covered – was wonderful!

  6. Love, love, love this! Thank you! 🙂

  7. That is a line I have never noticed! (I love that song and belt it out even though I can’t hit the notes.) thank you for sharing your thoughts. May our souls feel their worth!

  8. Happy New Year, Sarah! Yes, may you rest and worship joyfully with your worth securely in Jesus. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  9. This is beautiful, Renee! I love your word for the year and I pray along with you that we will all keep our hearts, hands, eyes and souls open to receive the beautiful gifts our Father wants to pour out upon us!

  10. Thank you, Anita. The Father does indeed give beautiful gifts. May you deeply experience Him this year!

  11. Open to receive our worth through Jesus Christ. That’s my wish as well, but you put it into words very nicely. Thank you and God’s blessings on you as you search this out this year!

  12. Pingback: The Best Song You Can Sing | Eternity in Our Hearts

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