New. It’s a word that conjures up freshness, a clean slate, a beginning, something unused, not old. Like this exquisite sunrise we witnessed on New Year’s Eve. I don’t often get to see a sunrise because I’m just not “a morning person” but this was an unexpected benefit of getting up at 4:30 am that day to drive back home before toddlers became too cranky. It was breathtaking and glorious. I want it to be the picture of this new year dawning, of every day dawning. One of my favorite bloggers, Ann Voskamp, names her years, and I thought that I would follow that trend this year. I want it to be new. In every way.
To experience God’s mercies that are new every day (Lamentations 3:22-24).
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
To live out of the new heart I’ve been given by God in the Spirit (Ezekiel 36:26-27).
26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
To put off the old self, put on the new self created to be like Christ (Ephesians 4:24, Colossians 3:10).
24 … put on the new self,created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
10 … put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
To experience a taste of the future when our returning King comes to make all things new because even now, I am part of this new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
I want to fight sin in a new way, and to see new grace instead of dwelling on old hurts, failures, sins.
Less complaining, more thanksgiving.
Less thinking about what I want, more thoughtful considering of what the Spirit wants.
A posture of listening. (I am so quick to talk, to speak, to offer my “wisdom,” to think I know better.)
To see my children anew and delight in them.
So much about my life has felt mundane, monotonous, difficult. And I am tired of complaining about it and then feeling stuck and defined by it. I want this year to be different. I want to experience new freedom from sinful anger, discontentment, and complaining. I don’t want to repeat old cycles of sin that are so well-learned by me. I want to know a newness that permeates every part of my heart, life, world, neighborhood, church, community.
How? Empowered by the Spirit of Christ, who is the source of all things NEW, a few thoughts as I’ve had time to reflect and ruminate during this first week of 2013:
- Renewal of the mind = memorize Romans 1, 8, 12 (as per Ann Voskamp’s plan) and begin the 2-year Bible reading plan by Whitmer
- Take Voskamp’s “Joy Dare” to purposely focus on gratitude instead of complaint
- Weekly “state of the union” with Seth to connect about marriage and our lives (an idea I’m indebted to Jim & Marsha Petty for – my wonderful landlords when I first landed in Philly for seminary)
- Focus on my children when I’m home with them – less texting, escaping to technology via email/Instagram/FB/etc, less talking on the phone, maybe even fewer visitors and play dates so that I don’t miss these years.
- Read 40 books. Life –changing ones, preferably. I’m off to a good start with Seven by Jen Hatmaker. Revolutionary, in a word. (Thanks for inviting me to read this with you, Katherine.)
The source of my hope for NEW is here in an ancient prophetic book, Isaiah 43:18-21 –
18 “Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 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.
… I provide water in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,
21 the people I formed for myself
that they may proclaim my praise.