This article was originally published by The Mennonite

Hope or fear in the new year?

At the start of each new year I typically find my thoughts torn between the sentimental reflection of experiences from the prior year and garnering the fortitude to face what awaits me in the coming year.

I must gird up my loins and forge ahead, ready or not. I can choose hope or fear.

The Bible offers a multitude of verses to give us strength and hope.

There are two verses I recite each morning for encouragement: Psalm 46:1-3 and Isaiah 40:31.

These powerful verses with images of “wings like eagles” and God’s protection even when “the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea” serve as a mini pep rally as I prepare to tackle what life decides to throw at me.

With the start of 2015 I have found encouragement in a new set of verses: Psalm131. This chapter gives rise to strength and encouragement in a humble, calm, soothing, reflective way; an approach much different than the verses from Psalm 46 and Isaiah 40.

This chapter was revealed to me through my favorite Christian artist Jason Gray in his song “Without Running Away.”

He uses Psalm 131 to make the point “You must run the risk of fearlessly loving without running away.”

My favorite verse in Psalm 131 is verse 2: “But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me.”

The image of calm, quiet and contentment like a child with its mother is compelling; this is the level of love, acceptance and comfort God wants us to experience with him if we are willing to make ourselves vulnerable enough to fully trust him. Beautiful.

The ability to have fearless love is the direct result of our trust and contentment in God.

This gives us the freedom that we no longer have to prove ourselves to anyone. It gives us the humility, strength and freedom to be willing to face difficult situations with love, enabling us to serve God and others.

As you look for strength each new day and for the new year, remember the power of quiet trust and contentment, and run the risk of loving without running away.

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