New Year, new me?
Each annual turn of clocks and calendars to 12:00am on 1st January can feel like a fresh start, a new opportunity for many people. For others, the coming of the New Year doesn’t really induce any sense of profound change or a big moment of opportunity.
In some ways, it is truly more hopeful to consider that any ordinary day could be one in which we take steps to make lifestyle changes or make a new commitment to something beneficial.
Wherever you fall in the New Year’s resolutions debate or not, it’s probably safe to say that 2020 brought up various things in each of our lives that we may have had to deal with for the first time, or perhaps finally come face to face with a habitual problem.
For some people, they may have just gone into survival mode until 31st December 2020, waiting out for 2021 in order to tackle things in their lives. For others, they may have instilled some new habits that they aim to continue as we enter the new year.
Getting through 2021
To encourage you wherever you find yourself in the journey into 2021, and the general unpredictable journey that is life, I would like to share two encouragements and reminders to ensure that whatever goals you may have made on the outset of the year remain doable.
2020 was certainly a challenging year in unique ways for everyone. 2021 can be different and here’s how.
1. God never changes
I love being reminded of the fact that God is consistent, God never changes. In Malachi chapter 3, verse 6, we are told that ““For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.”
In the unpredictable journey of life that we embark on in this now-and-not-yet world, seasons of change can be stressful, particularly if they are prolonged with no end in sight. Thankfully, the Lord does not change, and we can have confidence and assuredness of this.
We can have hope—a confident expectation of God’s goodness—because we know God never changes. It is this kind of stability which means God can truly be our anchor and our stronghold.
2. God looks after us
Short yet powerful, Psalm 23 pays tribute in just 8 verses to God’s role as a trustworthy and caring shepherd. God knows the way and the possible risks along the journey, he protects us. God provides for our needs and makes sure that we receive them.
We don’t know with any certainty when the threat of Covid upon this world physically will lessen, but we can be encouraged that God will look after us. The sweet words of David encourage and remind us that even though we may (and probably will!) go through hard or dark times, we shall fear no evil, for the Lord’s rod and staff comfort us.
Encouragement for 2021
There are many other facets of who God is which can provide us with the necessary strength or resilience to get through what could be a challenging year; or a year to rebuild from last year; or a year to make progress from 2020. But it might be most helpful to focus on just a couple.
Compiling a large list of reminders can mean in that times of stress it might be difficult to really find the words that will provide comfort. It could overwhelm us, resulting in the opposite intended affect.
As I write this in the first couple of weeks in January, it is my prayer that you and I hold onto these two things we know to be true about God—he never changes and he looks after us—as we embark on this year.
I pray that in whatever you do this year, take comfort in these encouragements. You might also like to take some time to find some encouragements that suit you more personally.
This year can be different. When we take moments to prepare ourselves in advance of the hard times and remember to come to Jesus regardless of what we find ourselves in, we can rest in the knowledge and peace that comes from knowing God never changes and he looks after us - that will be what makes the difference this year.
Rebecca Hoverd studies law and geography at The University of Auckland and loves writing as a way to communicate with God and to unpack her thoughts. She loves coffee, conversations, and would love to hear your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.