“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

I never liked New Year’s Eve that much. It just feels like a bit of a forced holiday. Just sitting around waiting till it’s midnight. I don’t feel the magic. It makes me feel melancholic and old. But yesterday felt like old days. I celebrated it again in my hometown. It had been a couple years, but I wasn’t disappointed. On top of celebrating the new year, one of my friends proposed to his girlfriend. Right after her ‘yes’, the first fireworks went up in the air. One big happy party.

My bowl of fruit is a typical ending of a Sunday evening meal. Most of the being healthy resolutions are probably already down the drain or will be in the next few weeks. But my New Year isn’t about resolutions. It isn’t about the focus on making myself a better, healthier and brighter person. It’s about a hopeful future.

Then today a Sunday with two church services. Okay, a little bit more empty than usual, but I guess that’s due to the lack of sleep. However, if you weren’t there, you missed out on a very powerful message to start the year with. A hopeful message about the promise of a life that is more beautiful than you can imagine. But also a practical message: go build your city where you live and learn to be surprised by God. He will do so much more than you ask.

I don’t know what the new year will bring. I am moving this week to begin with. I was convinced I was super excited and ready to leave my parent’s home asap, but now the moment is actually close, I realise what I am going to miss back here. I’ve grown closer to this place again, much more than I wanted in the first place. But I do need to go.

This year will bring a lot of change I think. It’s the first year in my life in which I don’t have any set out paths anymore. I can go wherever I want, with whom I want and when I want. But I am not sure if it feels that way. Because I like to be in control. The endless sea of possibilities gives me freedom, but also a slight nervousness.

Hopeful future – words from Jeremiah. A prophet way back in the day, but those words are still incredibly powerful today. I was reminded by them last summer. During the first hours of a hike with 10 boys, my co-staff hike leader told me with a very serious face that his walking stick was named Jeremiah. Nice name, I thought. Strong, old-fashioned. I liked it. “And yeah, his birthday is on November, the 29th.” A bit more random, I thought. It took me a little while to put it together: Jeremiah 29:11. His favourite Bible verse. One of my favourites too.

I want to start my year with focusing on that promise. God knows his plans for me. Plans that will lead to prosper instead of harm. Plans that give me hope and a future. I am excited to discover all the details in a every little moment of every day.

This isn’t just a promise for me. It’s a promise for you too. No matter how excited you are for this year or how afraid you are. All it takes is a step in faith and a lifelong journey of learning to trust.