Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
It’s funny how the stuff of last year keeps stomping right on into the new year, isn’t it?
The laundry that was there before January 1st… yep, it’s still there in the new year waiting to be folded.
The junked up email box that was there before January 1st… yep, it’s still junked up in the new year just waiting to be sorted through.
The rotting greens we forgot we bought for that salad last week… yep, still in the crisper waiting for us to notice them and put them out of their misery.
The insecurities, struggles, things that give us anxiety before January 1st… yep, all still there, staring us right in the face on January 1st.
Even though we like to think there is, there’s nothing truly miraculous about the first day of a new year. Who we were in 2013 is who are the day the calendar turned over to 2014. We go to sleep on December 31st a wife, a mom of three, and a woman stretched in twenty directions… well, that’s who we wake up as on January 1st.
What I think is so beautiful about a new year, however, is this: it wakes up our dreams to be ‘better’.
The start of a new year is a perfect marker for gauging where we’ve been… and where we’ll go. This is why resolutions happen on January 1st: we look at how we lived the year before and set the course for ‘better’ of some kind.
Even though we are who we are in the place where we are… there is a yearning in each of us to take flight and shine brighter than we ever have before. We don’t like being stuck – or feeling stuck. No matter how ‘together’ we hold ourselves out as, the truth is this: we all have something we can be freed from; we all have chains on our spirits we know need loosing, and burdens on our backs we’d love to set down and walk away from; we are all fighting a battle.
As John Watson wrote in his 1903 book “Courtesy”:
“The [wo]man beside us also has a hard fight with an unfavoring world, with strong temptations, with doubts and fears, with wounds of the past which have skinned over, but which smart when they are touched. It is a fact, however surprising. And when this occurs to us we [should be] moved to deal kindly with [her], to bid [her] be of good cheer, to let [her] understand that we are also fighting a battle…”
Let’s not forget that, okay? Let’s BE KIND to each other and ourselves as we find our goals may be harder to accomplish than we expected. Let us speak words that are helpful (to ourselves and each other!) that build up and benefit the hearer, not tear them down. Let’s do things without arguing or complaining because, as the Word says, that’s how we really shine in this dark world. And, let’s not lose our heart – or our joy in the journey – to keep trying just because we feel our state in life isn’t ‘fair’ or that ‘if only things were different’ it’d be easier to be better. Because, the truth is this:
2014 is poised to be as good a year as we CHOOSE it to be. So, let’s choose to endure, to be strong, and to do the work. And, if there is something in our way of ‘better’, let’s not talk about it… let’s just GET TO WORK ON THE TREES.
In addition to the 2013 post I just linked to, here are two more of the most popular from 2013 I hope encourage you in your ‘work’ today:
Thanks for being here… and, sister, don’t forget: YOU ARE LOVED, YOU ARE AMAZING, AND YOU ARE SPECTACULAR right where you stand.
Happy New Year!