What You Really Need to Make this Year New

CalenderI had such high hopes for this week. After an amazing Christmas and New Year with family that spread itself wide over the first weekend of January I felt certain come Monday morning I would be ready and able for my life to get back to normal.

I set my alarm for 6:00 am for the first time since before the holiday. I woke up and headed downstairs to spend time with God and to write before the rest of my family woke up.

What is usually an hour or two turned out to be a measly twenty minutes when my youngest daughter woke up early crying for her mommy.

“No problem,” I thought as I rocked her back to sleep. “I can still use this time to read and pray. I can organize my thoughts for this week’s blog and let my mind mingle over the next scene I’ll write when I do get back to my story.”

In addition to my daily morning routine, I planned to get back to our daily homeschool schedule, to pack away Christmas, to unpack the box of baby clothes waiting anxiously in the basement. I planned to fix healthy meals and start our new year with a Daniel Fast tailored to suit our family.

Easy-peasy, right? After all, it’s the first week of the New Year. Every thing seems hopeful. Every thing seems bright.

Well, as the week bumped along I didn’t get back to my writing.

I didn’t wake up early to spend time with God.

I have yet to do my lesson plans and get back to school.

Christmas boxes fill my hallway.

The nursery closet sits unnervingly empty while that box of clothes remains neglected in the basement.

And I’ve fallen off the health-food bandwagon more times than I can count.

As I sit to write this blog and look back over the week (Has it really been only a week?) I can’t think of a single thing I managed to accomplish.

And I don’t feel hopeful, I don’t feel bright. I feel discouraged and sick in my heart. I feel like I’m about to wither and fall right off the vine.

Just before Christmas my sister wrote an amazing post for me about our longing for the ideal. How sometimes we get so wrapped up in wanting things to be perfect for the holidays we miss the truth that the very first Christmas was anything but perfect, anything but ideal.

While this is an important truth to remember before Christmas, I am finding myself returning to it again and again at the start of this new year.

Because, when it gets right down to it, ideal is what I long for, so often more than Christ.

And isn’t this the problem? That when we long for the ideal we don’t have more than we long for the ideal Savior we do have, we miss the grace that exists all around us.

We miss the grace that He is enough…even when we’re not.

We miss the grace that He is our strength…even when we’re weary and weak.

We miss the grace that He supplies beauty…even in our mess.

At the beginning of It’s a Wonderful Life, God tells the angel Clarence that George Bailey is in trouble not because he’s sick but because he’s discouraged, and according to God being discouraged is the worst of the two.

When I consider how discouraged I feel at the end of this week I know this is not what God wants for me. I know this isn’t what God wants for any of His children when we fall short of our own expectations, or our own ideals.

Instead of feeling discouraged over what we can’t or haven’t accomplished He wants us to draw close to who He is and remember what He can accomplish in us. In our failings, our weakness, our mess.

So if you’re like me, a little banged up, a little discouraged, a little disenchanted at the start of this new year, let’s make a new resolution. A resolution to forget the ideal, to forget the discouragement, and remember the God who makes all things new.

The God who makes all things fresh and full of grace.

Every year.

Every week.

Every morning.

Every moment we choose to turn to Him and find all we’ve ever longed for.

P.S. To the handsome man that came up to me in the kitchen last night, and graced me with an out-of-the-blue kiss, and told me I’m doing a great job…thanks! I wouldn’t have written this one without you. 

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