Ready or not … a new year has begun. The reality is that some of us are not ready. Many more of us find ourselves much less ready than we’d like to be. Some of us find ourselves in a place of spiritual, emotional or mental distress. We don’t feel ready for a new year. We are not ready to return to work, to classes, or to our ordinary lives that we usually live.
The bad news is that we can’t do anything to stop time or delay the return to our normal lives or the beginning of this new year. But not all is lost. There is good news! The good news is that today is a new day. Regardless of where we have been in the past, today is a new day. What we choose to do with our today is totally up to us and the past only affects today if we let it.
As we look to this new year we need to spend a moment to reflect on the fact that, wherever we may be at, we do not have to face today alone. I gain a lot of comfort when I look to the following verse in Lamentations:
“God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, His merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left.”
This passage evokes images and feelings of hope, persistence and endurance. It speaks of a God who cares, understands and is willing to meet us in our place of need. A part of moving forward, regardless of where we might find ourselves, is being willing to give an honest assessment of where we are. We need to identify the baggage we carry and claim it as our own. We can’t get rid of this extra, unwanted baggage in our lives until we are willing to claim it. We need to help those around us do this as well. We are all wounded people ourselves — none of us perfect — so let’s not pretend to be. Let’s invite God in to these painful areas of our unfolding lives and ask for healing where need be.
Our pain, hurts, struggles and strife don’t have to disqualify us from the work we’ve been called to (but it can if we don’t address it); instead let’s cling to the words God spoke to Paul as he cried out for assistance:
“My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.”
2 Corinthians 9:12
God can use you and I in our weak, frail, imperfect state. This should hopefully give us cause for a deep sigh of relief. It is my hope and prayer, as we begin a new year that we will be willing to honor God and honor those around us by claiming our baggage — before it claims us.