A New Beginning
Here we are, a new year and a time for a new beginning. One of the most notable things about January is the hope we can have for change and doing things differently. It’s the beauty of a fresh start.
As I reflect back on 2021 I can determine 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 had hoped for. It’s just best to leave the past where it belongs…..in the past.
Let God Lead
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 with what I’m doing. When I dream big dreams or ponder moving in a different direction I must surrender my dreams and plans to God and look to Him for His higher purpose. Surrender, as scary and uncomfortable as it sounds, is the word I’m going with this year.
My intentions are not just about doing what’s doable and safe. It’s about stepping into the deep and exploring not only the challenges but the new journey that might lie ahead. Typically I’m not afraid to make changes–but life changes can make you second guess yourself. Maybe because there’s a little bit of uncertainty and fear getting in the way. If I’m going to fully surrender then I must let God lead me in the direction He wants to take me rather than me trying to do the leading.
As I started to make my list for 2022 I asked myself five questions:
- Why are making changes important to me and why did I include certain ones on my list?
- What will some of those changes reveal or consist of?
- What can I do differently to see that these changes or goals become reality?
- Will I surrender what I think is best to the ONE who has the best for me?
- And am I fully surrendered? Totally dependent? Completely trusting in Him?
I don’t believe there are easy answers to these questions, but I do know that consistently spending time in prayer will lead me to deepen my relationship with Him more and strengthen my desire to live out this firm commitment through His watchful eyes.
My Commitment to See Things Through
There are also a few things on my short list for this new year that aren’t rocket science kind of things, but they do require work and commitment on my part. Can I:
- Do a better job of maintaining a simpler schedule.
- Streamline in 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.
- 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.
- Surrender [hand over ]my burdens and concerns to Him, knowing fully He has me covered?
So many times we get a do-over. A chance to start fresh. A chance to clean up the areas we’ve not been so good at in the previous year–you know the stuff that we weren’t as intentional about. And it’s no surprise to God that any one of us has a list of things to tackle each year. In fact, I believe He expects us to try again and again until we get it right.
And you know what? God could have given up on you and me a long time ago, but He didn’t. His forgiveness is infinite and He continues to stay with us regardless of the time it takes us to do what He intended, and what each of us has known all along to be the right thing. That’s the beauty of a fresh start.
God’s word tells us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 (NIV)
God is the Same Everyday
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. It doesn’t matter that I didn’t take the leap of faith He had ready for me. He longs for me to recognize my shortcomings and try again for better results.
The extra chances I get assures me that 2022 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 completely surrender the plans I hold dear to Him. The changes in my future should be about what He desires and less about the grand plans I have on my list.
- What is on your to-do list for the new year?
- What habits do you need to work on?
- If you are looking at a life changing situation (changing jobs, moving, etc.) how can spending time with God help?
- What do you want to see God do in your life in 2022?
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.