Reaching for More


A new determination faithfully arrives every year, sometime between Christmas and January 1. Just when the clutter starts to get to me and the chaotic schedule grinds on my nerves.

I’ve got a system and prefer to do it alone: pitching, rearranging, and packing away. The physical work feels good after too many family movies and long meals. The solitude feels even better.

But this year, my work became symbolic of a bigger mess…

I lugged around old boxes and the same old crap every year.

I shoved worn-out furniture and that same extra fifteen pounds.

I rearranged sad knickknacks and the same anxieties that steal my joy every year.

I packed away our family Christmas and the same expired hope of it ever making a difference.

I began to panic at the thought of ringing in the new year with the same old bell. And whenever I feel things are out of control, I turn to my expertise in planning.

This year, I’m going to clean out one closet every month.

This year, I’m going to exercise every day.

I’m going to journal my emotions and get to the root of my issues.

I’m going to spend regular, quality time with every member of my family.

This year… 

The familiar plans hung in the air and taunted me. I’ve promised all of this before: the organization, weight-loss, personal growth.…  So many times.

Every year, I grab my same, limited resources and expect things to be different. 

Maybe it’s time to reach for something more… 

The symbolic ritual continued, but instead of more shoving and rearranging, I dug into long-ignored drawers and dusted forgotten shelves. I got down on hands and knees and stood on chairs, reaching underneath and above what I’ve done in forever.

I traded my grumbling and scheming for silence and one chore at a time.

And by the end of the day, I had three new things: a clean house, a different kind of tired, and no specific plans.

Climbing into bed that night, the mild complaint of my muscles made me feel alive. Today certainly was all about reaching. And it truly made a difference. 


Maybe this year, I’ll reach past my normal and see what God can do with an open mind.

Maybe this year, I’ll reach across my limited resources to see what God can do with empty hands and a humble heart.

I’ll reach beyond holidays and special occasions to see how an everyday God can transform a family full of sinners.

I’ll reach around my idol of control to see what God does when He’s the only One.

At the end of all the reaching, God promises only three things: Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

This year I’m going to reach without knowing if He’ll bring happiness, progress, or even order. I’ll reach for the certainty that Three in One is enough.

I’ll reach because He reached first.

shutterstock_168084359 (1)

What about you? Are you feeling a bit of panic over hollow resolutions and weighty plans? Are you ready for more but know you don’t have what it takes?

Reach with me.

In quiet humility, let’s reach past ourselves for more. Let’s reach, one day at a time, for the boundaries of the gospel…

…we just might find out how big it really is.


He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”    Revelation 21:5

























17 thoughts on “Reaching for More

  1. Christan Perona January 4, 2016 / 7:54 pm

    Karen, so many of us need to hear this. We’ll need to re-read this in several weeks and months and be reminded of truth yet again. I’ll reach for the boundaries of the gospel with you. You’ve challenged me to “reach past my normal and see what God can do with an open mind.” An open mind..


  2. Michele Morin January 5, 2016 / 6:45 am

    Yeah, me too. Especially that line about the idol of control. And sometimes even the resolve to let God be God feels tired to me, because I’ve tried that one too. I’m learning slowly (so slowly) that the Christian life is not about January 1st, but it’s about the 2nd and the 17th and April 12th and August 7th — all the little days and minutes of saying yes to the Spirit’s promptings and no to myself. If I can get past trying to make it into a “system” and just let it be a relationship, I believe that the rest will take care of itself.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Karen Brown January 5, 2016 / 8:02 am

      Yes! It’s so easy for me to get pulled into a system- but I was made for relationship. Thanks so much for stopping by Michele. Blessings to you!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ifeoma Samuel January 6, 2016 / 7:19 am

      Hi Karen, Morin’s word echoed my heart. It is a making it into a system!
      Happy New Year Karen.
      Many Blessings to you

      Liked by 2 people

      • Karen Brown January 6, 2016 / 8:27 am

        Hi Ifeoma! Thanks so much for stopping by! Blessings ~


  3. Mary Geisen January 5, 2016 / 7:20 am

    Every one of these words resonated loudly. A new year should bring hope for a new beginning and we shouldn’t feel that we need in the same place year after year. God does reach for us and asks us to grab hold because His plans are always better. His strength is always stronger and He will always see us through. I am joining you in hope that moving beyond what happened in 2015 is possible in 2016. Happy New Year friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen Brown January 5, 2016 / 8:07 am

      Mary- Your words are always so encouraging. Thanks so much for stopping by.


      • Mary Geisen January 5, 2016 / 8:17 am

        You’re welcome! I wanted to let you know that for some reason you were directed to my original site which hasn’t been active for several years. I saw your comment come through email but then I couldn’t find it where I blog now. Hopefully I changed my information below that it will direct you to the correct place.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. betsydecruz January 5, 2016 / 8:53 am

    Karen, I’ve missed your posts! Don’t know how it is I haven’t been here in so long. Your words are resonating with me because I feel a bit tired starting the New Year after a busy holiday. Feels like I needed a longer break, but I’m going to trust and reach forward anyway, believing God is bigger. (That’s my best option, right? There is no other!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen Brown January 5, 2016 / 8:59 am

      Thank you, Betsy! I’m having a hard time getting started with the New Year, also. Wishing for a longer break… but I’m trying to reach past myself to see what He has for me. And trust that it’s all better than what I’m holding onto now. One day at a time, friend. I appreciate you stopping by. 🙂


  5. Heather Jost January 5, 2016 / 12:18 pm

    I love this! I too get frustrated with resolutions that I fail at all-too-quickly and then wonder if things can ever change. I am encouraged by how you realized God is enough and how that realization alone is what can help us follow Him into new life.


  6. positiveadoption January 6, 2016 / 11:07 am

    I agree! We don’t turn into a new creature overnight just because we flip a page on the calendar. It is God who does the work when we seek Him, when we reach for Him. I love the photo of God reaching for us and the implication of POWER. He is all powerful. We are not, but He can work through us despite our frailty. Blessings!


  7. Tara January 6, 2016 / 4:38 pm

    Yes, let’s reach together.


  8. Being Woven January 6, 2016 / 8:31 pm

    Karen, as I read this powerful post (for me as well)…the sentence – “I’ll reach around my idol of control to see what God does when He’s the only One.” has really touched me tonight. I, too, am wanting to reach past the “me” and see God in all He wants of me and for me. Thank you for sharing your heart.
    May this new year be filled with the bountiful blessings of God.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Kristin Hill Taylor January 12, 2016 / 1:46 pm

    “I’ll reach around my idol of control to see what God does when He’s the only One.” –> THIS. Yes. I love this so much.


  10. Julaine brown February 25, 2016 / 8:22 am

    I love this post. It reflects on how we all rely on what we are in control of…even if it’s not working for us. We become self-deluded with the idea of “doing the right thing” regardless if it’s unfruitful. Going round the same mountain in need of a savior but too proud to admit it.


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