||Happy New Year
As we end one year and begin the next, it is natural for us to think of making things new in our lives, letting go of some things and adding others - changing things up and making a fresh start. The beginning of a brand new year allows us to open ourselves up to the hope and possibilities of a better future as we shed the disappointments and regrets of the past.
Renewal, redemption, redirection - all these words conjure up images of an improved life, of getting on the right track, of leaving the past behind as we press on toward more rewarding experiences. Of course, we can make changes in our lives any day of the year, but at no other time is it more talked about than on the first day of a new year, we are almost forced to examine the way we live on January first and really what better day? Today is the day.
As Christians, we are taught that we should shed our old lives and be made new in mind and attitude, so that we can become more of what God wants us to be - more like Jesus. I think everyone who has made a confession of faith understands this newness of life to which we aim. It is, perhaps, easy to understand, but it is much more difficult to achieve. So many obstacles stand between our old life and the new one. Obstacles, not the least of which, is our own selves. We, so often, unwittingly sabotage ourselves in our journey towards more Christ-like lives; surrendering ourselves to the process of being made new is not a one time deal. It is something that we have to recommit ourselves to over and over again until we finally get it right, which, most likely, will never happen this side of heaven, but still we must try.
There is that (not so) little thing called faith that moves us along even as we stumble, fall and fail. We have faith in a power greater than ourselves that we believe is at work - helping us to do better next time; keeping us focused on the bigger picture. Most of us want to be part of something beyond ourselves, to make an impact on those around us in an ever widening span of reach. I know I do. The problem is that, most times, I have no clue how to achieve this kind of goal. That doesn't mean it is impossible, however. It simply means I have to think outside my own head and open myself up to the possibilities of the universe, of which it is my belief that God is in control.
He knows more than I do about everything; even about me. It doesn't matter how much introspection I do, I will never know as much about myself as God does. Psalm 139 tells me that God knows me most intimately. He knows all of my ways, my thoughts, what is in my heart and what I will say even before I do. He knew me even before I came to be. I have to trust that with this knowledge in mind, God is in a much better position to see around the corners of my life than I am myself. So why is it so hard to surrender my life fully to him? In a word? Humanity. My humanity is my greatest asset as well as my worst liability. My humanity keeps me moving forward as I strive to be better, more worthy, farther reaching and more like Jesus. It is also my humanity that trips me up time and again as I try to get my life in order on my own.
I never cease to be amazed at the depth to which my God will dig inside of me to bring out that which he longs to see in me. He doesn't mind jumping into the trenches of muck and mire that I have created for myself, in order to help me lift myself out. God doesn't just charge in to save the day as a super hero might in a comic book or fairy tale, he teaches me (often at great length) to dig my own way out. The lessons are sometimes hard and are often the last thing I really want to do, but they are always beneficial.
So, as I look forward into 2010, I am reminded of some very beneficial lessons I learned in 2009, and I am finding that impossible is not a word I should so easily fall back on. When I think things are impossible it leaves out all the possibilities God has planned. God doesn't want me to use on own narrow scope of comprehension to view my life with. He doesn't want me to use impossible as an excuse not to try - as an excuse not to trust him. He wants me to open my mind up to the potential that is found inside of my faith in him. The size of that potential is in direct proportion to the size of my faith in Him and the possibilities only he can see. I pray I can grow my faith and test out new directions of potential, possibility and achievement this year and beyond.
Happy New Year, everyone.