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I woke up today feeling like I needed a fresh start [and a waffle]. I do this a lot…I roll ever so slowly out of bed knowing there’s an attitude I need to abandon or doubts I need to get rid of or a habit I need to break. And today’s the day.

I start each day so motivated to get it right. To get everything right. To start making graciousness my automatic response to any hard situation. To be more joyful and spontaneous and less obsessed with my schedules and to-do lists. To put more trust in God and His plans and less pressure on myself to figure everything out. To start putting skim milk and Splenda in my coffee instead of cream and caramel drizzle.

And this is all great until someone does or says something I don’t agree with and I respond with judgment instead of kindness. Or until I catch myself feeling anxious and afraid about things I can’t control. Or until I realize I’ve been neglecting to spend time with Jesus because “I have too much else to do” [read: because I’ve been taking too many naps]. Or until I look down and see that a caramel macchiato [EXTRA drizzle] has just somehow ended up in my hand.

And then I think well, I’ve ruined it. So much for that.

And I shamefully go to God and say “Look what I did. I know I’m a mess. I know I don’t deserve it. But could I maybe possibly just have like one more do-over? One more clean slate? I will get it right this time. I’m so serious” [and then we both laugh at my clearly unrealistic optimism].

And in this moment He looks down at me [I imagine the look on His face is an equal mix of loving and forgiving and we really have to go over this again?] and He reminds me that I don’t have to beg for permission to start over. I don’t have to let the guilt from whatever mistake I made yesterday carry over to today. Needing a second [or third or fourth] chance doesn’t make me a disgrace.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never end; they are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3:22-23

I have been given a fresh start whether or not I asked for it. Whether or not I felt like I needed it. It doesn’t matter if yesterday was a great day or a terrible day. I woke up this morning with the chance to be better, do better and love better. And whatever happens today, I’ll wake up tomorrow with the same opportunity.

We make a lot of really big, probably overly-optimistic New Years resolutions, don’t we? Even if you’re one of those people who “doesn’t do New Years resolutions” you’ve probably thought to yourself over the last few weeks maybe this is something I should do differently or maybe this is a habit I could break. And over the next year [or at least the next month], this goal will be at the forefront of your mind. And some days you’ll succeed and some days you’ll fall short.

I don’t know about you, but I often get discouraged more easily than I’d like. On the days when I fall short, I think well, that was a good try I guess. And I start trying to think of simpler, easier goals that maybe I won’t mess all the way up this time.

“If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation. Old things have passed away; all things have become new.”
2 Corinthians 5:17

We let ourselves get so tied down with what we wish we had or hadn’t done. With one single instance where we feel we didn’t measure up. With things that are over and done- out of our control.

When the word “new” is literally a part of our identity!!!

Yes, it’s a new year. Make those resolutions! Spend time thinking about ways to better yourself, your relationships, whatever needs some change. But when things don’t go exactly as planned [because do they ever?] remember that you wake up every morning with a clean slate. White as snow. This gift is free; bought by grace.

And if that’s not encouragement enough, you also wake up each morning with the identity of a new creation. You carry that with you. No matter what happens throughout the day, you are constantly, continuously, unceasingly NEW. You don’t need a new year or even a new sunrise. Newness is ingrained into who you are every moment of every day.

So remember that. Feel like you need a fresh start? You’ve got one. You are one. You are a living, breathing representation of Christ’s ability to renew, redeem and restore.

Have a happy New Year, friends!

Published by Alle Roley