This past New Year’s Eve I found myself, once again, incredulously staring a new year in the face. My news feed was inundated with year-end reviews and predictions for the new year. Friends had selected (and found time to write about!) their “words of the year,” and I saw many a “state of the blog” post scroll by in my blogroll. Everyone, it seemed, was ready for the new year.
Everyone, that is, but me. Winter break was hard for me. With my daughter home from school for two. solid. weeks. and the errands to be ran and the meals to be cooked and the presents to be wrapped and life to be lived, I had no good opportunity to pause and consider that a new year was barreling toward me at breakneck speed. I was considering it success to make it through a day; evaluating the YEAR and anticipating the one to come was nowhere on my radar.
December 31st is, it seems, the day to make plans, and January 1st is the day to put them into action. December 31st is the day to see where change is needed, and January 1st is when we make it happen. December 31st is the day to look back on what was right and wrong about the year past and January 1st is the day of new beginnings.
And in a way, yes. I can see that. But frankly? I just wasn’t there on December 31st….or for the past couple of weeks. One thing after another has pushed my fresh start further and further into the pages of the calendar, and do you know what?
I think that’s okay.
A new year is a chance to start fresh….yes….but it is not the only chance to start fresh. We are given that every single day. Every time the sun comes up, we are greeted with mercies anew and time aplenty to make changes.
So if you’re like me and have taken forever to get your year mapped out, I really and truly think that is okay. That’s not the justification of the chronically unprepared, either. It’s the freedom of the redeemed. Because every day that we’re given, we’re given a chance to be something we weren’t yesterday. Every tomorrow brings redemption for yesterday.
What is NOT okay, though, is putting off a new beginning out of fear of doing it poorly. That is, sadly, what I’ve been doing. Yes, I am given grace for each new day and opportunities to start fresh every time the sun comes up again, but that is not an excuse to put off ever starting. I have felt unprepared to start this new year well, so I have postponed the official start until a time when I will be ready.
But today, I’m tired of that. I’m realizing that it’s better to make a messy, imperfect start today than to never start tomorrow.
And so today, on January 23rd – a Friday, which is probably the worst time to start anything new – I’m starting my new year. We’re far enough into the year by now that some of you have already made significant progress on your new year’s resolutions (and most likely, some of you have already given up). I, however, am just getting started. Because I don’t believe that God’s work in my life is restricted to a calendar year, and I don’t believe that January 1st is the only time to start fresh.
So wherever you are today, dare to start. Even if you don’t know all the steps. Even if you don’t have a perfect plan. Even if your first step is so small that it is barely noticeable. Start, because God is already working. Step forward into what He has for you, and the steps will gradually become clear. Move forward even if you’re scared, because God will work in your fear and uncertainty to do something you could never plan or imagine.
I’m cheering you on.