New Years is always known as the time to start fresh and new. When you are on the verge of a new year, it seems like nothing is in your way. You can be whoever you want to be and even change those parts of you that you have wanted to change for so long in the past year. Usually I have New Year’s resolutions that I only accomplish about a month into the new year… and then I fail. And I’m left feeling discouraged. I’m clearly not writing this in celebration of a new year because we are far from a new year. I’m writing this because even though we are far from a new year, we still have the opportunity of a new beginning. Every day you wake up is a day you get to start over. You have the chance to be who you want to be. You don’t have to wait for New Year’s Day to come around.
For me, this mentality is hard for me to have. I don’t usually wake up with the realization that I can start over. I keep going just as I have because it doesn’t feel like I have the chance for a new beginning every day. Honestly, this is something I have wrestled with this year. I seem to make the same mistakes that I made the day before. I say things to people I love that I don’t mean to say. I think negatively about myself and others. I don’t let go of the insecurities that prevent me from being who I am. Sometimes, I don’t even open my Bible or pray to God. Instead, I keep living in my mistakes of yesterday. I try to approach each day with a willingness to make a change, but sometimes I just fail. And it’s very discouraging. If I were to guess, many of you all have faced this challenge within this time. Quarantine has made everything so much harder. It doesn’t sound terrible to take a break from our normal lives. It definitely has had the benefits of bringing people rest and restoring parts of people that have been lost in the craziness of life. But it’s also been hard. It’s difficult to stay motivated. This quarantine has often left me consumed in my thoughts and has brought me struggles that I thought were in the past. I get up in the morning, and it’s even more of a struggle to make the changes that I need to make in my life. It’s almost as if life is a blur right now, and we don’t have the opportunity to start over. We wake up, and every day is just like the last.
But life isn’t only like this in quarantine. It’s always hard to realize that God provides us with the opportunity of a new beginning each day. I’d say it feels like we are trapped in our habits of yesterday. I mean think about it. It’s easy to say you will start reading your Bible more, eat healthier or even treat people with more kindness the next day. But it’s really hard to put it all into action. It can be very discouraging when it feels like we consistently keep falling back into the same hole we have been in for so long. We want to change, it just almost feels impossible.
About two years ago, I was hung up on the word “renewal”. I have no idea why. It just kept presenting itself in my life. It is clear to me now that God was placing this on my heart. I specifically remember a night when I saw that word probably five times while going about my normal night routine. I was reading a book, and there was the word. I was reading my devotional, and there the word was. I opened up my Bible for the verses that went along with my devotional, and there it was. I even had a little calendar in my room that had lessons for each day, and there it was!! It was insane. After seeing this word so many times within the span of probably thirty minutes, I started to look more into this word. The definition is “an instance of resuming an activity or state after an interruption”. It can also be known as “the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken”. This spoke to me because I had been going through a season in my life where I did feel like I was trapped in a “state after an interruption”, and I was broken. I had just faced a battle that acted as a state of interruption, and I didn’t know where to go next. After seeing this word so many times, I realized that God was calling me to repair one step at a time. I was exhausted, but I had to wake up with a mentality of renewal. It was time to repair the broken pieces in life, and get back up. But I remember there being comfort in that it didn’t have to be a fast and quick repair. God was still going to be with me, no matter how long it took for me to change and be okay again. And God was there with me every step of the way. God even placed someone in my life that helped guide me through this season of renewal because God’s timing is perfect. I was not alone. I didn’t wake up and get it right every day, but I tried to approach each day as a beautiful opportunity to take the next step.
It can be so very discouraging when it feels like we can’t take the next step. It really is way harder than one might think to approach each day as what it is… a new day. We get caught in yesterday. We feel the guilt of who we were before, and it’s our nature to fall right back into that same habit that brought about the guilt. But we cannot get discouraged. Even taking the littlest steps in our life can take (what seems like) a good amount of time. That’s okay. Don’t let that make you stop trying. If I would’ve stopped trying in that season I was in, I don’t even know where I would be now. I had to trust God one day at a time. Eventually my heart was able to heal, and I was able to make the changes that were necessary for my life.
The story of Peter’s denial in the Bible came to my mind as I was thinking about this. Many of you probably know this story. Jesus told Peter that he was going to deny Jesus, and of course, Peter said there was no way that could happen. Lo and behold, Jesus was right. Peter did not only deny Jesus one time but three. After denying Jesus the first time, Peter was probably saying to himself, ‘oh no I’m not going to do that again’. And then after the second time he denied Jesus, he probably had the same thought. But then he ended up denying Jesus three times. This story is how I think we frequently feel on a daily basis. We aren’t being who we want to be, but we wake up just to do it all over again. Peter was disappointed in himself, but Jesus forgave him. If I was to assume, I think the disappointment in himself probably lingered on for a while. But our God provides us with the time to change and realize where we’ve gone wrong. This is the process I like to call renewal. So let’s begin that process in our own lives. What is it that you need to change right now? Where is it that you need to heal? Don’t wait until the new year comes around. Begin to approach each day as a new day and begin to make those changes.
Renewal takes time. Don’t be discouraged when change doesn’t happen overnight. We are in a hard time to be living in right now. We have to give ourselves grace and forgiveness when we mess up. I hope you take this journey with me, of living each and every day, one day at a time. We don’t have to live in yesterday’s mistakes. That’s good news!! You have the opportunity to be who you want to be as soon as you get out of bed in the morning.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me. – Psalm 51:10