I like “new!” It feels fresh and clean. “New” has no baggage, no memories to beat me around. It’s untainted by yesterday’s failures and life’s regrets. “New” offers me a blank slate to start again. I like “new!”
Given the astonishing opportunities afforded by “new,” why is it that we often use it so feebly? Think about it. What do we female creatures do when we dislike the reflection in the mirror? We go shopping! Surely, getting a “new” outfit will bring confidence to meet life’s demands. A “new” hairstyle will rid us of life’s stifling monotony, right? I’ll lose weight. That’s got to help. It’s exactly what I need . . . a “new” me.
There’s just one big problem with this solution. Have you noticed how quickly the “new” wears off? Within weeks, we’re right back where we started . . . a predictably overwhelmed life that leaves us feeling blah all over again!
It’s time we start using “new” in ways that truly work for us. After all, we stand at the brink of a brand “new” year. While new clothes and looks are fun, we need more than this to create authentic “new” in our lives, a kind that generates lasting change. We need some forward movement with a new view!
I can’t help but think of an old friend, Paul. Here’s a guy who, despite his extraordinary brilliance and stature in the community, made some dreadful choices he lived to regret. Paul desperately wanted to change his story. He longed to get past his past. Ever been there? There was just one monumental problem. Paul’s harassing memories played like a continuous movie reel in his head. Sleepless nights became his new normal. Paul’s past hounded him without reprieve as frustration festered and shame surged.
When Paul finally hit the wall, he had an encounter with the One who is all about forward movement. In fact, God’s dreams for your future are exponentially greater than you could dream for yourself. They were conceived even before you were!
This life-changing encounter alleviated Paul’s agony, providing a fresh perspective. Paul famously penned, “Forgetting those things which are behind me, I press on!” (Philippians 3:13) For you see, when he realized God wasn’t holding Paul’s past over him as punishment, Paul decided he would stop dwelling on it, too. He dropped the “never-enough” mentality that crippled his ability to live today and hope toward tomorrow. Paul pressed on to the goal of his life found in the One who dreams big for us.
You may wonder, “How do I stop dwelling on what I can’t change? How do I alleviate regrets that play persistently in my head? How do I experience the joy that “new” can offer with my weighty baggage of yesterday’s pain and guilt?” It’s not as difficult as it seems, I promise.
It’s funny, somehow we think God doesn’t know the package He’s getting. Surely, He doesn’t know what He’s signing up for when He takes us in. Truth is, God knows precisely what He is getting. He simply believes in the power of His love more than the power of our failures!
Hear me tell you that the God who adores you is continuously obsessed with your future. In fact, He does not relate to you based on who you are now but on who He knows you can be! Wow! How many people in your life offer that invaluable gift? Most people will not let you forget what you did wrong at a particular point in time. God will not let you forget what He knows you can do right! He speaks life into us and continually seeks to remind us of who we can be!
Give yourself a gift this “new” year. Forget those things that are behind you, those things you can’t change. You can’t start enjoying the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one. Choose to press on! Choose forward movement that focuses on what can be. It’s a perfect time for “new” in you! Let’s press on together. Forward, march!
For comments or prayer, contact Dr. Lanier at www.HopeCommunityChurch.tv.