2014: "Make Me New"

What is it about a New Year that conjures up so much excitement? If you think about it, it is only the changing of a calendar year, from one year to the next. Nothing really changes besides that. Part of the reason there is this anticipation and excitement, is that the New Year brings hope. The New Year ushers in this chance for a fresh start. It offers a chance for new beginnings, goals, resolutions, for second chances. We all need this. We all need fresh starts, hope, second chances. Now, and always.

I am a fervent optimist in hope. I believe in hope because I believe and know the unrelenting grace, mercy, and love of God. So I know when they say, "There is Always Hope" (one of my favorite Banksy pieces and sayings), there is. For all mankind, even for the most wretched of people. A lot of times, hope lends itself to our freedom if we just hold on.

For me, this new year was more of a refreshment. It served as a chance to end 2013, and look forward to what 2014 might bring. 2013 was a year of change. When the year began, just one year ago, I had a feeling that this was the year to have change. I had no idea how this would look. I didn't hold fast to any sort of resolution or goals. In fact, I have made none this year, and probably made none last year. While I knew it as a year of change, I had no idea how true this would be or how it would manifest.

Change is good most of the time, and painful some of the time. No matter how change comes and goes, it serves as an opportunity to grow. This previous year showed me ways of how God is and was with me, even when I didn't feel like it. Even when the day to day blur together, and you have to be mindful in seeking God. This year offered steps for the doors to be thrown open for new measures of freedom. Sometimes you have to learn to be free when you are released from varying bounds. Eventually, you can dance, freely and openly in life once again.

I think the most touching thing of all though, is this exercise of faith I must now live in. It is hard. Right now I have faith for a new job. I have faith that God will bring me what I need relationally, financially, and work wise in his timing. I have to wait. I want to wait and trust. Last year one of my silent mantras was, "Fall and Rise." We all fall, but we all must rise again. There's a whole reason and story as to why this was a mantra. But as I look back on 2013, it really was a year of falling and rising again. Now, for 2014, my mantra has become, "Make me new." Because that is what God has promised to do. He promises to make us new. This is something that has already been in progress through the many layers of change in 2013, but looking forward to this fresh new year, it is something I feel for this year. Kind of like how I felt change last year, this year, I feel restoration.

Restoration can be a terrifying thing for people who are used to living in the shadows and who are not used to living in light. I am not saying that I am a shadow dwelling individual. But I am saying that restoration, while bringing something new, whole, and redeeming, can be scary because of the unknown. To really have restoration, we must let go. We must relinquish control. We must trust. We must wait. We must have faith. All hard and scary things, but I am doing it. It can be scary to have expectancy on God. What if it doesn't happen? What does that mean then? These are some of the deep and unspoken questions whispered, while refusing to let go, and let God. But I think the risk is worth the gamble.

Happy 2014, friends. May it be a year of new beginnings, of fresh starts, of risk taking, of light living, of rising up and being made new. And even if you fail, which we all do, every day and every moment, can be a new beginning for you.

Grace and Peace.