God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life. Don’t throw me out with the trash, or fail to breathe holiness in me. Bring me back from gray exile, put a fresh wind in my sails! The beauty of a new start is that as long as we walk on this earth we are granted these opportunities over and over again.
Here we are, a new year and a time for a new beginning. One of the things I love most about January is the hope I have for change and for doing things differently.
As I look back on 2016 I determined what went well, and what didn’t.
I can tell you my laser like focus went right to the short list of things that I needed to work on. I look at that list as a reason to make a case for change and move forward. I’ve also decided it’s not worth wallowing in disappointment if I failed to make the kind of progress I hoped for. It’s just best to leave the past where it belongs…..in the past.
As I evaluate what changes are good for me and which ones are not, I can’t shy away from those things that require a little bit of extra effort. If I’m going to make progress and see my plans through then I must be intentional. That’s the word I’m going with in the new year.
I must be intentional about not doing just what’s doable and safe. I must be willing to step into the deep and explore the challenges that lie ahead. I’ve never been afraid to make the tough changes–but occasionally I procrastinate a little bit or feel the need to plan a little more. Maybe it’s a little bit of uncertainty or fear getting in the way. And while it may take longer than expected to make some head way, I’m going to focus on what’s important because it represents a piece of who I am.
As I started to make my list for 2017 I asked myself three questions:
- Why are making changes important to me and why did I include certain ones on my list?
- What can I do differently to see that these changes or goals become reality?
- And does making these changes align with GOD’s plan for my life?
I don’t believe there are easy answers to these questions, but I do know that I must continue to pray about what I need to do and the steps I need to take to make change. It’s about committing the work I’m doing to HIM and living this firm commitment through His watchful eyes.
A few of the things on my short list aren’t rocket science, but they do require work and commitment. For me it’s about:
- Doing a better job of maintaining a simpler schedule.
- Streamlining a couple of areas where I spend money. It’s about being thoughtful with what I have and using it in a manner that is pleasing to God. Sometimes it comes down to cutting back on extras.
- And I need to be better at waiting….on people, events, and God’s timing. On one hand I have a lot of patience, but other times I have a growing sense of urgency to make things happen.
Every year I attempt to clean up the areas I’ve not been so good at–you know the stuff that I wasn’t intentional about. It’s no surprise to God that I have a list of things to tackle each year. In fact, I believe He expects me to try them again.
And you know what? God could have given up on me a long time ago, but He didn’t.
His forgiveness is infinite and He continues to stay with me regardless of the time it takes me to do what He intended, and what I’ve known all along to be the right thing.
God’s word tells us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 (NIV)
I’m so grateful for a God who is the same everyday. Because no matter how many times I fall short, He loves me anyway. It doesn’t matter that I didn’t get something right the first time. He wants me to recognize my shortcomings and try again for better results.
The extra chances I get assures me that 2017 is an opportunity for me to be a better version of myself. It’s also an opportunity for me to continue to seek HIS truth and keep my sights on HIM. I know that I am enough in God’s eyes, so the chances serve as a reminder of the fresh starts Jesus already gave me, and those He continues to give me every day through His grace.
My Heavenly Father wants me to trust Him, follow Him, go deep in His word, and fill my life with encouraging and pure thoughts so I can be more like Him. He is the ONE to lead me in the direction I am supposed to go.
His words in Revelation 21:5 bring such comfort. “Behold, I make all things new.”
God is the one who lovingly provides me with the hope, renewal, and restoration I so desperately need. It is through HIS grace that I have the chance to start over, do things differently, and be intentional about making the needed changes HE desires.
Lord, I come to you in gratefulness and thankfulness this bright new morning. You are a God of second chances who stands beside us as we make our way to change what needs to be changed and make a fresh start. Thank you for loving us unconditionally and for helping us to see the hope and promise of what’s ahead. Amen.
Love and blessings for a bright new year.