Ecclesiastes – Goal Setting #4

The Goal Setting Mini-Series goes a step deeper than the usual “how to” list: How can we set goals that honour God and don’t induce panic attacks? Post #3 is here in case you missed it.

Fireworks and traditions

Aren’t fireworks displays just spectacular? Even on TV I find them mesmerising.

I live in Sydney, and we have one of the best annual fireworks displays in the world. (I’m not biased, of course 😉 . Actually, London’s display was pretty spectacular this year – I watched it on YouTube. WOW.) On 31st December, tens of thousands of people crowd Sydney Harbour’s foreshores to witness the display. Thousands of others view the fireworks from nearby bays and lookouts.

I used to brave the crowds and admire the midnight fireworks every year, without fail. My friends and I would stake our claim at 5:00pm – you had to get there early to secure a decent spot! – at a lookout north of the Harbour. With picnic rugs and plenty of finger food to graze on, we’d enjoy the long wait for the big show. (It’s summer here, remember!) It was a treasured tradition.

A timely devotional

Well, I missed the midnight fireworks this year. By 11:15pm, the tears had finally stopped flowing and I took myself off to bed. A good night’s sleep fixes everything, right? I wish! But it can help sometimes, so I gave it a go.

Lying there, feeling dazed and crestfallen, I decided to pick up a devotional book that’s been sitting, unread, on my bedside table for a while. Here’s what it said (taken from a selection of Bible verses that have been paraphrased, expanded on, and changed into the first person):

As this year draws to a close, receive My Peace. This is still your deepest need, and I, your Prince of Peace, long to pour Myself into your neediness. My abundance and your emptiness are a perfect match. I designed you to have no sufficiency of your own. I created you as a jar of clay, set apart for sacred use. I want you to be filled with My very Being, permeated through and through with Peace.

Thank Me for My peaceful Presence, regardless of your feelings. Whisper My Name in a loving tenderness. My Peace, which lives continually in your spirit, will gradually work its way through your entire being. (Isaiah 9:6, 2 Cor 4:7, John 14:26-27)

Just the words I needed to hear! Just the words you need to hear too?

Then some pictures came to mind – ones I’d seen on Doodle Through the Bible, a site I’ve fallen in love with. They’re part of a series of doodles from Ecclesiastes, and they were the icing on the cake, helping me get back in the right head-space. (Rom 12:2, 2 Tim 3:16, 2 Cor 10:5NIV)



I love that:
“One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labour and striving after the wind.”

Wow. Just what I needed to remember. Just what you need to remember too?

Work cannot fill the God-shaped void in our hearts.

Are you tempted to strive and push yourself beyond your limits, in order to distract yourself from that itch of insufficiency in your soul? So am I… But let’s resist that temptation! Let’s remember that Jesus is the only one who can satisfy us and complete us. Let’s run to him for help!

Work cannot fill the God-shaped void in our hearts. Click To Tweet

To be continued…

Read the final installment of my Forgettable New Year’s Eve story.


1. Your personality:

“One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labour and striving after the wind.” These verses are a wonderful reminder for recovering achievement addicts like myself. But not everybody is achievement-oriented… Which tendency do you struggle with more: being overly ambitious or being idle? If you struggle with poor motivation, which verses have helped you to shake off your apathy in the past?

2. Your story:

What are your New Year’s traditions? Have your annual traditions (NYE as well as other milestones) changed since the decline of your health? If yes, how so? Which traditions do you miss the most? Have you managed to reinvent any of your traditions, to accommodate for your current limitations?

3. Survey question:

Which city has the best NYE fireworks display in the world? (Feel free to be as biased as I am!)











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