The year just started a month ago and if you’re like me it may come with some sort of pressure to do things differently. We all put so much expectancy in this turn of calendar. Time has taught me that a mere turn of calendar does not change a thing, unless we ourselves make intentional changes. I realize I cannot be a passenger of my life and let the year be the driver of my life.
There has been so much talk about God doing a new thing and this being a year of restoration. What hasn’t been brought up as often is the preparation path to the new thing. Preparation may be through inconvenient and uncomfortable moments. It may seem confusing especially if the expectations are for it to be all good and the new thing to be birthed instantly.
In my planning and goal setting for the year I think that some things are going to happen that we don’t know about. But the scripture is all about what God knows (Jeremiah chapter 29, verse 11).What makes us different from all of God’s creations is free will. God had given us the ability to choose, make decisions. It’s the decision making that shapes the world we live.
Changing into the new won’t feel right at first and may even involve some level of discomfort. It may seem unfamiliar initially but slowly and perfectly God changes us. The key to putting off the old is putting on the new. God is never stagnant; He is always doing something fresh and new. May God open our understanding to His new thing.
“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 chapter 43, verses 18-19)
‘Forget the past’
It’s not easy but it’s possible. Talking about the past gives it authority. It doesn’t mean it’s not part of our story; it just needs to stop being the theme. Just because it was a chapter in your life doesn’t mean it needs to be in every chapter after that. God says if you’re ever going to see the new thing you’re going to have to forget the former things.
Forgetting the former allows us to look for a new thing, not the old thing again; not an old thing repeated but a brand new thing. Sometimes we can’t perceive the new thing because we’re still looking for the old thing to come back. It’s so easy to step over the new thing while looking back for the old thing.
‘I am doing a new thing’
Not knowing what the new is can cause anxiety and fear. Sometimes the new thing is an old thing that has never been claimed. Some may also be disillusioned if they do not see the immediate manifestation. Everyone has their own idea of what the new will be for them. What if the new is totally not what we anticipate? It may be a season of growth or a lesson. It may be coming into Gods promised rest, the rest that comes through Jesus Christ. Are we ready and open to receive whatever package it comes in?
As we await the ‘new thing’ with expectant heart, maybe just be open to the fact that it may not be as we anticipate. His ways are higher than ours; His thoughts are greater than our thoughts. It’s such a comfort to know that no matter how things turn out God promises to work everything for our good. In our planning is there room for God to edit and change the outcome according to His will?
‘Can you perceive it?’
Sometimes we need new perspective to see the new thing in the same thing. God can do some work in our heart in the same place so that we approach the same place in a different way. May God give us a different approach to the same place this year. Most times we want a new thing but go with the same attitude and after a while the new place becomes like the old place.
“Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before.”
(Joshua chapter 3, verse 4)
Joshua is taken back to the same place but in a different way. We can go to the same place but differently; with new approach, new strategies, new attitude and maybe new work ethic. It’s going to take us seeing things differently; same thing, new approach.
Asking the right questions at the beginning of the year has really helped to figure out what I need to do differently and what needs to change in my life (Ephesians chapter 4, verses 22-24). I think that change for the better is not a once off process and the need to watch out for the trap of perfectionism. I realise that God is perfecting us moment by moment and lack of perfection is not failure.
‘Now it springs forth’
We will need new mindset to perceive it because it will look different than the last time. Instead of looking at the old thing to come back may we perceive the new thing God is doing. Instead of expecting second chance and another shot, may we look at the new thing God is doing. May it be a year of not living in the past, what could have been but what God can do right now. May we embrace today’s possibilities and believe there is an opportunity for new birth.
“You crown the year with Your goodness, and Your paths drip with abundance.”
(Psalms chapter 65, verse 11)
Miriam comes from Kenya, but now lives in South Australia and is surrounded by an amazing Christian community. She enjoys deep conversations, music, tennis, bowling, occasional walks on the beach and quality friendships.