Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord shines over you.
Isaiah 60:1 (HCSB)
Series Focus: “A Time for Everything”
Ready? Set! Go! Who burst out of the old year and energetically into this new year? New beginnings can be refreshing and exciting. They can be overwhelming and ridden with pressure. They can be strategic and intentional or totally unexpected. And they can be downright messy!
As I prepared to write today, I found many things to keep me from settling into this “new beginning.” Picking up the fluff from the dogs’ Christmas toys, filling their water bowls and a glass for myself, and grabbing the trimmers to fix my broken nail all took precedence before I sat down and opened my laptop.
I experienced the same struggle before I made my holiday pies. I cleaned every surface in my kitchen before I started. Don’t get me wrong. A clean kitchen is necessary when baking. But, you know how that goes… The mail on the counter took me to the office, where something else demanded my attention. And the rabbit trail of distractions from room to room ensued far too long. Eventually, I returned to the kitchen to make the pies.
A clean area to be creative is important! Whatever your creative outlet may be, a tidy and organized area promotes success and eliminates the opportunities for distractions. Likewise, planning maps out the path to achieving the goal. But perfection is not a requirement for new beginnings. If we waited for everything to be just right before we begin any endeavor, we’d be pretty unproductive.
Scripture encourages us how to begin new things—and clearly reveals fresh starts do not erupt from a place of perfection. Let’s look at a few examples:
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty. Darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. (Genesis 1:1-2 HCSB)
A blank, dark, deep, watery canvas. The TLV translation says there was chaos and waste. How’s that for a new beginning!? The Spirit of God hovered over the surface and began creating the glorious world we still enjoy today. How vast the universe is! How majestic the mountains, glistening the light, lush the forests and fields. The chaos of what was did not stop God from beginning to create.
In Isaiah 43:18-19 (HCSB), God encourages the people to not look back at the pain and suffering of the past but to look ahead at the new thing He is doing.
“Do not remember the past events, pay no attention to things of old. Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.”
Paul echoes this instruction through his own experience while encouraging the Philippians to model his example:
Not that I have already grasped it all or have already become perfect, but I press on if I may also take hold of that for which I was even taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers and sisters, I do not regard myself as having taken hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14 NASB)
Maybe your entry into this new year was perfect! We rejoice with you! Perhaps it was mediocre with no pointed direction. We rest with you. The transition into the new year could have been tough and riveted with anguish. Our hearts ache with yours. Maybe distractions consumed you and you didn’t even notice the new year. We understand your experience. No matter where your new year adventure falls on the spectrum of order to chaos, one thing is true: a fresh start is here—in all its glorious perfection or remarkable messiness!
Will you embrace this new beginning? What creativity has God purposed through you this new year? Can you forget what has passed? Will you release regrets and break free from distractions so you can rise up and begin again? Messy starts are worth it. God is proof! Let’s begin together. It’s time.
Holding Fast to Hope,
Scripture References: Genesis 1; Isaiah 43, 60; Philippians 3:12-14; Romans 8