Monday, December 30, 2013

a january journey: all things new with Jesus

i know, i do it too. as january one draws close, i begin to look close. i begin to scrutinize the excess and the process and, if i'm being honest here, i might even be a little tempted to obsess. i can't seem to ignore the "r" word which is tossed around just about everywhere in this week between christmas and new year's. resolution! 

i remember being a young girl, maybe 5th grade, when i heard the new year's resolution phrase for the first time. i am pretty sure that was the same year i filled five pages in my diary with resolutions. five pages! i was going to fix everything and everybody. because when you're ten you truly believe anything is possible, right?

i think that was the same year i discovered anne of green gables. {whom i still wildly love and adore}. one of my very favorite anne quotes is, “isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” (l.m. montgomery). i mean seriously, don't you just love that? just like the mischievous anne, i was a girl who messed up and made mistakes all the time, every day. still do, in fact. and though i'm not writing five pages of resolutions in my diary these days, i am always a little bit excited for tomorrow and always in line for a new year.

a brand new year.

it's just so sparkly and bright spanking clean, isn't it? so attractive. so desirable.

who doesn't love the promise of a new year?

the slate wiped clean. the mistakes erased. the past forgotten. the future wonderful and wide open.

come january one, is there anyone not ready to turn the page and begin anew? 



i know i'm always ready.

even our minnesota landscape seems to cooperate --  clean, white snow everywhere. almost pristine. frozen, frigid temperatures crystalizing all of nature and covering the brown mush of the winter earth. (looking for a silver lining as i write this morning in below zero temps)!

and that lofty resolution word flies around, fluttering in front of our holi-dazed eyes. leading us down the path of grand expectations and high, high hopes. part of us likes it. part of us dreads it. and most of us aren't quite sure what to do with it. you don't have to raise your hands, but how many of you (of us) have started down that noble road of resolutions only to realize halfway there it just wasn't going to work. you just weren't going to cut it. you had set your goals too high and your sights too far. whether it was to be nicer, get skinnier, eat better, work harder or shop smarter. sound familiar? sure does to me!

because as much as we want to turn over a new leaf and start off on the right foot, we have this tendency to make it about us: what we can do. what we want. who we are. and the truth is, even in january, it's not about us. it's not about our strength or determination or will power or commitment. it's just not.

sure all those things are important, but if we really want a change and a chance for new, we have to learn, not to try harder, but to trust deeper. as much as we all feel encouraged january one, i have a sense that january thirty-one is often fraught with discouragement. january one might seem full of possibility and promise, but january thirty-one can might come with its share of defeat and disappointment. because somewhere in those thirty days in between we had to face the fact that we are simply not enough.

and so often our thoughts go in the direction of "if-only-i-had-tried-harder."

well, this january i want to introduce a new series which isn't about our trying harder, but about our turning to Him. i'm planning a january journey in the direction of Jesus. i don't want it to be about what i can do to make things new, but what He can do, is doing, wants to do and will do!

our resolutions are good. but His redemption is better. and, the beautiful news? our Jesus is very much in the business of redemption. He redeems all things. even our old, tired, worn out, last-year selves.

“and He who was seated on the throne said, “behold, I am making all things new.” also He said, “write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” ~ revelation 21:5

His Word is clear, "I am making all things new." did you get that? HE makes them new, not us. He, the One on the throne of heaven, Him. He is in charge of the new.

HE is the one who turns over the leaf and wipes clean the slate.
HE is the one who pushes the re-do button and flips the reset switch.
HE is the one who gives us our strength and stamina to start afresh.

and reader, i am pretty sure that deserves a heartfelt a-men!

what's more, i just love, love, love how He even tells us to "write this down ..." He wants us to record in our journals and spell out in our diaries His promise. and the good news is, we don't need five pages, we just need five words: "I make all things new!"

do we want to embrace a truly new year? if so, we will need to embrace the maker of all things truly new.

so friend, consider yourself invited on ...

  a january journey:  all things new. 

we begin january 1st!
you can expect much the same as my october prayer challenge and my november gratitude series -- a picture, a verse, and a few thoughts. you'll find this tiny devotional post each morning on my even-the-sparrow facebook page. please click on the link and follow along there. 
also, i would love for you to share it with others! 

“forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  see, I am doing a new thing! now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”  ~ isaiah 43:18-19

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