A different 2023

How will 2023 be different for me?

I like to imagine that this year I will have it all together… whatever “it” is. 

I will eat better, walk straighter, live unstressed, except now and then when my body is due for a good ol’ adrenaline rush. I will invest more deeply in the friends I have. Care more and help to carry the burdens I sometimes ignore because I just can’t handle theirs and mine. I will write more…and better, of course. 

All of those ideas are good and hopeful. But today, as I sat down at my makeshift desk in my makeshift guest room and wrote about my relationship with God, I wondered: How is it that I can spend so much time with Someone and still know Him so little? And misunderstand Him so much–often not grasping His big picture nor sharing His heart for those around me?

Healthy eating, straight walking, unstressed living, friend investment, and better writing are helpful goals. But, I want knowing God to be the big focus–the all-encompassing focus–for me this year.

That’s how I want 2023 to be different.

2022 haze

Hazy. “Is it even worth going up to watch the fireworks?” my neighbor asked. “Will they even set them off? It’s so foggy.”

It’s worth a try, we decided. So shortly before midnight, four of us traipsed up to the roof to look over the strange haze that illuminated the city. Why does it feel brighter on foggy nights, like someone turned on a yellow lamp in the next room?

Midnight came. 2022. We didn’t cheer, just stood expectantly. The fireworks popped, a couple here and then there, muted by the fog. 

Last year had been wild–fireworks blasting everywhere as people waved goodbye to 2020. Had 2021 disappointed? With this new wave of restrictions, had people lost hope?

“Maybe everyone is tired this year, tired of being in crisis,” suggested my neighbor.

In his daddy’s arms, their little boy cried, “Tah! Tah! Tah!” after each burst, delighted. He didn’t seem to notice the lack of enthusiasm for the new year. He would be enthusiastic if no one else would.

We peered over the edge of the apartment building. The haze seemed to represent more than I wanted to process at midnight. 1 Corinthians 13:12 floated into my mind and stuck: “For now we see in a mirror dimly.” I didn’t even try to remember the rest of the verse, it felt appropriate stolen from its context and tacked onto this eery new year.

But after a good night of sleep tucked in my bed (with visions of sugar-plums dancing in my head, of course), I remembered that the verse is a comparison and the emphasis isn’t on the hazy mirror, but rather on that moment when we see “face to face” and “know fully, even as [we] have been fully known.” 

Once again, I had been distracted by the haze of the present.

My prayer for this year is not we become “so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good,” but that we live fully in today’s haze because we remember to reach out in hope.

This haze is not all there is.


Photo by Mehmet Bozgedik on Unsplash