Thursday, January 2, 2014

Clean Slates

There's something about a fresh start. Whether as a writer with a blank piece of paper (blank screen?), a painter's new canvas, or opening a door on a snowy morning to a fresh blanket of snow (not part of my normal experience) or turning the "page" on a calendar to a new month, or even better a new year, almost everyone I know likes a new opportunity.

So we've turned the page, and 2014 is here, and the slate it clean (I hope you didn't muck it up too badly on January 1st anyway.) So what's next?

Some of you are resolution makers. I am not one of them. If I were, yesterday would have been very bad for this girl who spent most of the day on the couch overeating and failing to open her Bible or any redemptive reading of any sort at all, but I digress. Some of you ARE resolution makers, and you have your determinations set. I won't go down the discouraging statistics of broken resolutions, but rather I will cheer on those of you who are giving up sugar, signing up at the gym, breaking out a new Bible reading plan, or changing some other habit that you feel needs to be altered or abandoned. Good for you! Blessings on your endeavors! Go for it!

Some of you are goal setters. You are likely the visionaries. You don't just look at the details, you look at the direction you want to head. You're not just joining a gym, you see yourself, you see yourself running your first half marathon. You're not just giving up sugar, you see yourself two sizes smaller. You're not just starting a reading plan, you see yourself reading all the way through your Bible in a year! I am not a visionary, but I admire those of you who are. Go! Achieve your goals! Make yourselves (and the world?) a better place!

There's more of you blank slate responders. There are the hopers, the ones who hope things will change, happen or improve in the New Year. There are also the pray-ers. You're the ones who hope and put your faith into it by actually asking God to help you accomplish it. The prayer factor is a good one to add to any of the other clean slate responses. With your resolution set, pray for help and strength. For the goal setter, pray for favor and direction. It's all good. Prayer is good, and something about praying over a clean slate that just instills a little more hope and expectation. It's like a spark of a flame, and prayer is the best way to fan it. In all honesty, I am NOT the best pray-er either, but that I plan to work on in 2014...

Those are my first steps onto the snow of 2014, the first words on the page, fisrt brush stroke onto the canvas... I want to pray more.

It's not a resolution. Because really, it's about conversation and relationship with God. It's not a goal, because how do I measure it? What is "enough"? And if I get there, do I stop? That would be just silly.

So my non-resolution, non-goal intention? plan? steps?... for 2014 is to pray more because I want to get to know God more. I want to go deep (I won't even declare it "deeper") with Him.

I do it with one thought in mind though. God's economy is not an annual clean slate the way we like to make it. We decide ever 365 days (366 on leap year) to give ourselves this said fresh start. But God says His way is to give a fresh start every morning. Except He calls it something different.

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

So my second thought on the New Year is simply this, I'm going to take 2014 one day at a time, maybe even one step at a time. Back in early December my end of the year started to fall apart - my eating, my reading, my (total lack of) exercise. And I honestly looked ahead at the coming clean slate of 2014 and threw the rest of 2013 in the trash, and I did a lot of damage waiting for the biggest canvas. So I think I will find wisdom in waking up with a clean slate every morning. I know even the poor choices of yesterday (no bible, no exercise, and bad food) can be put behind me in this day. And that's what I want for 2014.

So I have this in my heart, to seek God continually, to go deep with Him, and to remember each new day comes with new mercy, new opportunity and new hope. Welcome 2014, I plan to take you in moment by moment and day by day.

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