With the new year comes new opportunities. Goals, ambitions, responsibilities, age, expectations, adventures, seasons, and dreams. We gather with close friends and family to celebrate the coming of a new year together.
This strong sense of newness and freshness has been overwhelming me lately, and it has sparked my attention. Each year, we have the chance to let go of whats passed, and look forward. I mean, if I’m honest, we have the chance to do that every day. But bringing in the new year is one moment in time we have to do that. One chance to step aside from the chaos of every day life, and breathe in a breath of fresh air. There’s something so peaceful about that. Whatever mistakes or disappointments, failures or let downs, trials or obstacles, we have the opportunity to leave behind us, and move forward. Not forgetting lessons we’ve learned, or memories we’ve made, but choosing to let the negative things that happened go.
There are some really significant things that happened in 2014 in my life. I graduated from Houghton College with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media. I loved my years at Houghton, and cherish all of the friendships, teammates, professors, and mentors in my heart. I’m also thankful for the wonderful education I received, and the experiences of each year.
A second major event that happened in my life was that I got my first real world job, as a Staff Associate with Young Life in Webster, NY. To know that I had a job, even days before I graduated, was a huge blessing. I am grateful that the Lord has provided through that. My journey on YL staff has really just begun, but I have learned a ton, and I’m looking forward to the future of Webster YL.
All this to say, I of course do not mean that what happened this year is not important. What I do mean is that there’s a healthy way to let go of the past, because what’s past is past. It doesn’t mean we can’t let it shape is and teach us. It just means it’s in the past, and there’s nothing we can do now to change it. What we do have is a new opening. A new moment in time. A new year.
2014. It sounds almost weird to say. But regardless, I am filled with a sense of newness. I have a chance to start fresh. To take each day, and live it to the fullest. To love the Lord with my whole being, and to love others. To laugh, to cry, to smile, to enjoy, to create, to dance, to celebrate, to work, to play, to sing, to learn, to rejoice. I have that chance, and so do you my friend.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says “For if anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW creation. The old has gone, the NEW has come.”
The beauty of this verse is that knowing Christ means being made new, even if it’s not a new year. I am filled with hope, optimism, and cheer, and I pray the same for you. Out with the old, in with the new!
"We are not defined by what people say about us or what we have heard all of our lives. Satan has such a hold on young people conforming into something they are not just to go unnoticed. Be defined by what God calls you. Men: warrior, saint, My son, disciple maker, fearless. Women: Beloved, jewel, finer than rubies, pure, His most prized creation."
The past week of my life has been spent sleeping in, taking slow walks and deep breaths, with dear family, and feeling sand in between my toes as I listen to the slow rolling waves of the ocean. There’s something magical about taking time aside from the crazy, hectic, 2013 world that is constantly beckoning our attention and time, and stealing away to a quiet peaceful place.
Life, for little ol’ me at least, has been CRAZY lately. I just graduated from Houghton College in May (Class of 2013, woo woo). I’m so thankful for the time I spent at that school, and all the amazing memories I hold, but I’m also equally grateful to start a new chapter in my life. I anticipated the summer to be relaxing, and fun, but dang, it’s been so busy and nuts. Working full time, running from thing to thing, barely able to set aside 5 minutes of my day to pray. Real life hit fast, for sure. Isn’t that funny how sometimes our minds plan for something, and it almost goes the complete opposite direction of what we expected? Funny how God works like that. I think thats one of the ways he reminds that HE ”knows the plans he has for you. Plans to prosper and not to harm you. Plans to give you a future and a hope.” [Jeremiah 29:11]
Just when I could barely handle another crazy busy day, I packed up with my family, and traveled for a couple days to come visit extended family in a beautiful place called Old Orchard Beach, Maine. I can’t really describe it and give it a worthy explanation, but this little town and strip of the state is beautiful, and holds a lot of meaning for my fam. With that aside, we have been able to enjoy this wonderful, crazy, loving, peaceful week together, right by the ocean. And even though family can sometimes be messy, and disorganized, taking a week to breathe, and relax has been the best medicine for me, and I know for most of my family as well.
The Lord uses simple things to restore and bring new life doesn’t he? A beautiful sunrise, a colorful flower, a summer rain, a visit with an old friend, a hardy, bellie-aching laughter, an extra hour of sleep, a break from real life. The world will do its best to beat the life out of us if we let it happen. But if we take the time every once and a while to rest; to turn our iPhones off, and turn our heads up to the sky and take a deep, meaningful breath, I think we will be able to enjoy this life so much more. It’s super easy to get stuck complaining, and being ungrateful, but if we choose to instead, be thankful, optimism could be a new form of rest for us. And if sometimes we lose our way in life, and the waves of business and stress engulf us, its okay to stop, and take in the quiet beauty of the skies, and rest.