From the Pastor
“I hate New Year’s Day”
That’s what a friend told me recently. I greeted their words with a healthy dose of incredulity. After all, who could hate a day given over to non-stop football and the copious consumption of pork products? I wish everyday could be like that!
“No, no, that’s not what I’m talking about,” they said. “It’s all those resolutions. Every year I start out with a list of the ways that I am going to be different, the ways that I’m going to be better, and every year, usually only a few days in, those resolutions have long gone.”
Well, it’s a familiar problem, isn’t it? Most of us have been in the same place. Big promises! Bold decisions! New Year! New me! We start out thinking that we will reinvent ourselves this year but somehow, each time, those resolutions slip away one by one, leaving us right back where we started from. Instead of New Year, new me, we end up with same old, same old.
As someone once told me, “If I had lost all the weight I had set out to lose I’d be invisible by now.”
All of this makes me wonder if we might be looking for “newness” in the wrong place. It seems to me that all this business about resolutions too often focuses on what “we” can do, what “we” are capable of, what “we” are able to achieve. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is a lot to be said for self-improvement, self-discipline, and hard work. But none of that will produce a “new me.” I might end up with a “better me,” a “thinner me,” a “happier me,” but a “new me?” I’m not so sure.
In Isaiah 43:19 God says this: “I am about to do a new thing. Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” I like that. First of all, I like it because the focus is on what God is doing, the newness that God is bringing into the world, into the church, into our lives. That’s a very different kind of newness than what we can bring. Second, I like it because God is bold enough to ask if we have even bothered to notice. Most of the time I don’t think we do. We don’t because we are so wrapped up into ourselves that we lack the vision, the perception, to see what God is doing, even when God is acting right there in front of our noses.
You know what I think would be a great New Year’s resolution? To fully embrace, look for, and actively seek the new thing that God is doing. To set aside past hurts, past grudges, past failures, past brokenness, and embrace the “new” that God brings. Not just once a year on January 1st, but each and every day.
Yours in Christ,