You ever find yourself at the tail of end of a New Year’s Eve, pondering the exiting year, and wishing you had a DO OVER?
*Yes, my hand is in the air, too.*
2013 may have begun well, but it certainly didn’t feel like it ended well. I find myself floating through this year change listlessly and desperately needing to regroup.
Time to Start Again
While many take time at the beginning of a new year to make resolutions or bucket lists, (and I have done both,) I find the clean calendar page full of possibility, hope, and best of all – a fresh start. Every year I take a little bit of time to evaluate the previous year and take some notes for the new year. Whether you had a great year or you’re glad 2013 is gone, maybe you’ll benefit from a reboot, too.
Leave the past in the past…but learn from it.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Cor. 5: 17, ESV)
No matter how I failed in the previous year, the above verse reminds me that in Christ, I have been made new; I am no longer subject to my human faults and failures, but to Christ. In him and through him I am continually becoming a new creation. I must remember that it’s not anything on do on my own in my own strength. To let go of the old me and embrace the new me, I must remain in Christ!
As I look over the past year, I take assessment but I don’t dwell on it. I can’t change past anyway. What I can do is learn from it so that I can do better in the new year. So before anything else, I take last year to the Lord in prayer. I ask Him to show me what I need to change, and I leave it at his feet. I gotta let it go. I can’t take it with me.
Write out some plans for the New Year.
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” (Prov. 19:21 ESV)
I could make all sort of plans for the new year but I may or may not be able to see them through if I don’t first ask the Lord if those plans are things that he wants me to do. In fact, yes, I’ve done that, too (making all sorts of plans without running them by Him first!)
Before I convince myself that this is the year that I’m finally going to be the perfect mom (and then fail again), I need to ask God what things HE wants me to work on. Am I doing what I can to fulfill the purposes God has for me? If not, what reasonable, specific, changes do I need to make to serve the Lord how he wants me to serve? Do I need to spend less time on the computer, more time at home, make cleaning more of a priority? What do I need to do? What’s getting in the way? What do I need to change? Lord, open my eyes and let me see what needs to be done.
Take one day at a time.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matt. 6:34 ESV)
Yes, the new year is indeed a new, fresh, clean, lovely start. But I can’t live the whole year out all at once! I can only deal with today in today. So often I’m ready to make all those specific changes right now, but I can’t. Likewise, if I try to start working on everything I need to change all at once, I can quickly become overwhelmed and burn out.
Lord, what do you want me to start with first, what should I do today, this week, this month? Change happens one step at a time, one habit at a time, one sacrifice at a time. Prayerfully, I consider what goals I need to set for this week and month, and which things I need to start working on now. Then it’s time to start doing those things.
We can change; we can start again.
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13 ESV)
So often this verse is used like a victory charge, focusing on the “I can do all things” portion more than the “through him who strengthens me” part. But look at the verses that come before it — Paul is telling us he has learned the secret for being content and thriving in life regardless of the circumstances. That secret is that we *can* do all these things because of *Christ* – He gives us the strength to do them. In our own strength, we don’t succeed at overcoming the challenges of life very well, but in His strength we can overcome them and be content and thrive, too.
*So whether you’re looking at 2013 and realizing you need to spend more time with your kids, or more time working, or more time on cleaning…
*Or whether you’re looking at last year and feeling convicted to serve more, give more, or love more…
*Or if you’re evaluating 2013 and finding your quiet time and prayer time lacking because you need to rise earlier or feeling like your attitude is suffering because you go to bed too late…
Whatever it is that God is putting on your heart to change this year, he can and will equip you to make those changes when you look to him for wisdom and strength. The fact that we may have failed in some areas last year is moot because 2013 is gone, and all we can do is start over today for 2014.
Do you need a reboot for the new year? Are you not sure where to start? Start by taking it to God and asking him where HE wants you to start. Be specific. And then just do it: start again.
Image Source: Head in Her Hands by George Hodan