A New Year; A New You
It's a new year. As I write this, there are 363 days and fourteen hours or so left until January 1, 2018. If you are like me, this moment at the onset of a new year feels like a clean slate, a new beginning--a chance to be better than I was in the previous year.
What are you going to do with this incredible gift of a clean slate?
Some of us simply find ourselves frozen in this pregnant moment. We think back on all of the mistakes we've made, the challenging circumstances, the obstacles placed before us, and we determine that the coming year is just going to bring more of the same.
Some of us can't find the strength to let go of our mistakes, and secretly believe we are defined by the things we've done and left undone. Poet Dobby Gibson captures this perfectly when he writes, "When you're sorry for what you did, you're usually sorry for what you didn't." That resonates with me so deeply.
Then there are those of us who know that the way forward is going to include surrendering our pride, our desire to do it all on our own in the coming year. We fear what will have to change in our comfortable life if we do this.
Thomas Merton once wrote, "Perhaps I am most afraid of the strength of God in me. Perhaps I would rather be guilty and weak in myself, than strong in Him whom I cannot understand."
I love Merton's words, but I do think we can at least begin to understand God and God's intentions for us through Jesus. Jesus embodied God, and showed us what God is like, what God desires and how far God is willing to go to demonstrate God's love.
For those of us who call ourselves Jesus-followers, there is hope in the midst of this moment of decision as we determine which direction we are going to begin walking this new year. The Apostle Paul wrote, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new." (2 Cor 5:17)
Here's the news: You not only have a chance for a new start this year, you have the sure and certain knowledge that you can be made new.
Because of Jesus you don't have to be the same person you once were. If you've struggled with fear and doubt, you can be bold and courageous. If you've struggled to be positive and have been filled with anger, you can be hopeful and full of joy. If you have trouble knowing what to do with your life, you can be decisive, and step off in faith.
Step out in faith in 2017. Be the person that God has always dreamed for you to be. Embrace the you that has been made new in Christ.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus be with you now and always. Amen.