A new year is refreshing. Part of the allure of January is the idea of new beginnings. No matter what happened the year before, here is a chance to start fresh. The promise of possibility beckons. Anticipation and hope mingle to propel you forward into the unknown.
Just as snow blankets the ground and covers its uneven contours so the new year stretches into the future like a nice, white, blank piece of paper. You have the ability to make choices that impact, at least in part, the story written on that clean slate. But in order to promote forward motion, you may need to change attitudes, perspectives, or habits. Here are some things to consider:
Make a Start Fresh – Math was never my best subject in school (maybe because I am a word person), but I remember this about working math problems: it sometimes helped to get a clean piece of paper and start over from the beginning. Often, I could see an incorrect calculation that went undetected on a page covered with multi-step problem-solving attempts.
Maybe you a wrestling with a problem or situation that is a hold-over from last year. You’ve looked at it from every angle, tried multiple solutions, and haven’t been able to come up with an answer. Perhaps you need a new piece of paper, a different perspective, or the help of someone with greater knowledge who can see more possibilities and suggest things you haven’t considered. Starting over doesn’t signal defeat; it shows wisdom.
De-clutter – The beginning of a new year is a good time to let go of items you no longer use, but have continued to hold on to. It is freeing to give away things someone else will use and be happy to get. De-cluttering also provides a cleaner, more organized space in which to function.
While you’re in de-clutter mode, let it extend to your mind and heart as well. Let go of a hurts, resentments, and envy. Free your mind from constant reruns of words or actions that wounded you in the past year, or previous years. This year, when you hit the rewind button, push stop instead of play. In fact, remove the mental tape and dispose of it. You will have more room for creativity, positive contemplation, and joy with your heart and head wiped clean of clutter.
Erase Fear – Some enter a new year with a sense of dread, but that feeling is rooted in fear and fear is a debilitating emotion. It robs you of peace and paralyzes forward motion. Fear whispers what-ifs, causes you to second guess your abilities, freezes you in self-doubt, and threatens failure. Fear chooses passive rather than active. Don’t let fear control you.
Stretch Spiritually – It’s easy to get lazy about spiritual growth. Church attendance isn’t enough. Real spiritual growth occurs when you spend time alone with God. Consider starting something new. For thirty days, make prayer a priority. Praise God, and express your desire to know him more personally. Then wait silently and listen for God’s voice. Make this a year when you read the Bible through. Even if you’ve done this before, fresh truths will appear.
God is the God of forgiveness and second chances. By admitting areas of failure and committing to turn from sin, you make a fresh start. Each new day brings opportunity for putting the past behind and moving forward.
“He who was sitting on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down. You can trust these words. They are true.'” Revelation 21:5 NIRV