IT is a Happy New Year! Yikes! February is here! Each day just keeps marching on! The pages of this New Year are turning faster than I can keep up with the action! Or am I just reading IT smarter and speedier? Or do I need to slow down?
IT is still time to make a change…a new beginning…a time to quit pushing IT to the back burner…IT is a time to see new results. IT is time to realize that any resolutions made and not carried out…will more than likely never be. That is not what I intended! Maybe that is not what you intended either!
Resolutions! Declarations! Promises! Great phenomena if followed through with defined action. Like opening a new chapter in a book, resolutions may translate into how the year goes for you. The pages only keep turning as long as there is action behind the resolve to keep moving forward. Some of us get stuck in the early stages of a new chapter of life no matter how hard we try to refresh it with new declarations. Our stories become stagnant once again, because it is so easy to stay in the same old narrative.
Herman Hesse challenges IT this way, “There is a miracle in every new beginning.” Many of us believe this to be true…to a certain degree. There are pages we just want to rip out hoping those experiences are way behind us. IT is easy to turn to a new chapter at that point in our story. Then there are those pages of memories that resonated with our soul, brought delight and good feelings of accomplishment. We begin to pride ourselves in what worked well. IT is easier to linger in the midst of those chapters without turning to a blank page and beginning a new adventure…leaving the renewal to wait and wait and wait…
At the end of 2018, I debated about giving myself fresh resolutions for 2019—visioning ideals of grandeur, wishing for a new start to compensate for what I did not accomplish in 2018, desiring attitude changes that would make me and those around me happier, setting new goals that would inspire and motivate me. All good things…to a point! Then IT dawned on me that I really did not want to conclude ALL the chapters of 2018. Honestly, with that thinking, I was limiting the miracle of new beginnings.
The Apostle Paul left us with these powerful words of advice:
“12 I do not mean that I am already as God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that goal, but I continue trying to reach it and to make it mine. Christ wants me to do that, which is the reason He made me his. 13 Brothers and sisters, I know that I have not yet reached that goal, but there is one thing I always do. Forgetting the past and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize for which God called me through Christ to the life above.” Philippians 3: 12-14 (NCV)
What is the ultimate goal in your life? What is the rationale for what you do each day? What is the purpose for new beginnings? Paul’s purpose was to become all that God planned for him and to reach the prize of eternity with Christ at the conclusion of his story on earth.
First, Paul knew his GOAL and he was continually turning the pages of a new chapter in working toward that goal. He had a resolve to do what it took to keep moving forward not backward, not staying put in his comfort zone. He showed persistence in his actions and single-mindedness. Even in tremendous adversity, he was intent on staying the course.
Secondly, Paul forgot the past and strained forward, letting go of what was good and what was bad. IT was hard work…taking action, turning the pages and beginning new chapters. Paul had learned not to hold onto old patterns…he encouraged us to “be made new in the attitude of your minds, and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4: 23-24
Holding onto the good can be just as harmful as holding on to the bad. Forgetting what was in the past is not easy to do. However, remaining dormant can cause an individual to get stuck or discouraged or frustrated because the past seems to linger, grab ahold and cling until complacency sets in.
Third, Paul embraced each new day, each new page that he wrote…he recognized that “because of God’s great love, His mercies are new each morning. God is totally faithful in His promises.” (Lamentations 3: 22-23 paraphrased)
There IT is–the TRUST issue…believing that God wants to read our hearts and that He totally comprehends every word and each action in the chapters already written and those to come. Why would God want to meet us in each chapter of our lives, even the nitty-gritty, not-so-pretty details? Because He loves us and wants us to embrace His love. Part of that embracing is releasing the past by closing the chapters that are already written–the bad and the good—allowing God to help you move forward and write new chapters that become more strongly intertwined with His plans. NEW is part of God’s vocabulary! Forget what lies behind and release IT. Yes, the memories may remain, but the choice to release gives God the opportunity to make things new. He wants to help you write the next chapter in a transformed way. IT is your choice.
C.S. Lewis believed IT this way: “There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” IT is another season in your life. Today is the day that can begin the creating of a new chapter. Put behind those things that do not serve you well. Evaluate your attitudes, thinking patterns, everyday habits, individuals with influence in your life, your plans/goals—what was accomplished and what was not. Ask yourself, “What is ahead of me if I release the past and move forward?” There are new chapters in the story in front of you!
IT is time to recognize that you have purpose. You were made in the image of God with a purpose. Therefore, purpose is a part of every chapter you write. At times, your purpose is just putting one step in front of the other. Other times, it is actively seeking and then participating in God’s plan for your life. Then there are moments when you are asked to support another individual who is struggling to make it through and needs an encouraging word or act of kindness. Regardless, keep moving onward to the goal God has placed before you. IT is your choice.
IT is time to realize that you are never alone—God is with you and wants you to reach the prize He has for you. It is a journey — filled with questions, unexpected twists and turns, but also made up of glorious revelations that could only come from God and daily blessings too many to count. IT is your choice.
IT is time to trust God today. IT is time to trust God for the future, particularly if you think a new chapter is impossible. He is faithful, and He is the God of the impossible. He created you and knows every part of you. Do your part in opening that new chapter. God is ready to take your hand and lead the way. Just move in His direction…as you turn away from the past and concentrate on new endeavors, new opportunities, and new challenges. IT is your choice.
IT IS TIME! LET GO!
Just Kathy — believing that my next chapter is the best!