February 15, 2021
Fresh Starts and Redoes
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"The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)
I stood beside the festively decorated table as I balanced my fancy, shiny plate, which was much too small for my tower of finger foods and sweets. Another holiday gathering.
The topic of the hour was the new year to come and the goals people hoped to follow through with this time. I listened politely (and munched continually) as talk of workout routines, detox specials and "life-changing" reads were discussed and debated at length. People were either cutting something out - foods, behaviors, social media, toxic relationships - or adding something in - more gratefulness, more nature, more downtime, more kindness.
But regardless of where they fell on that spectrum, everyone was waiting until the new year to start fresh. And it made sense. A do-over sounded good, especially after the year of uncertainty and upheaval we'd all just struggled through.
Cue the "New Year - New You!" banner slogan here.
Later that night, I lay in bed obsessing about my own grand plans for the new year. Was I going to cut things out or add things in? My head could obviously do with less self-criticism, my waistband perhaps less sugar and my nights less Netflix. But also, it couldn't hurt to bolster my heart with a little more thankfulness, patience and a lot more prayer!
Before long, my grand list of to-dos for the "new me" was not feeling so grand, and instead, I felt as overburdened as my shiny snack plate - ready to crack under the mounting pressure. No wonder most New Year's resolutions failed in the first month! It was all too much! I dramatically fluffed my pillow and was ready to continue my aimless tossing and turning when a forgotten truth burst through my grumbling tangle of thoughts:
But His mercies are new every morning.
My body instantly stilled. Did I hear that right? I waited two breaths more before scrambling to grab my Bible and search for the words which hung heavy in the air.
"The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22-23).
There it was before me. Words of hope to cling to! Words which were first proclaimed over God's people when they were desperately in need of their own restart.
They had gone astray in a big way - cutting out a lot of good, adding in a lot of bad - and they were reaping the heartbreaking consequences. But even then, the Lord's compassion was ever present. Even then, He offered His mercy. Why? Because they were His people! They belonged to Him ... just as I belong to Him.
My heart exhaled in relief. I didn't need to wait for the start of a new year, a new season or even a new week to pursue a fresh start. And I definitely didn't need to quit in shame if (and when) my fresh start needed another restart ... and another ... and seven more for good measure. I belong to the Lord! He is my fresh start every morning, and His mercies are never-ending.
The same is true for you!
Friends, when we belong to the Lord, we are given the grace-filled privilege to seek His mercy at any time. (Hebrews 4:16) There are no strings attached. Our heavenly Father simply invites us to begin again ... with Him. And with Him is what makes all the difference in the world!
With Him, we are not alone.
With Him, our strength is renewed.
And with Him, our restarts and re-dos are redeemed!
So whether we find ourselves needing to add in more of the good stuff - humility, gratefulness, self-control, tolerance, forgiveness - or cut out the bad - addiction, shame, guilt, greed, envy, bitterness - with Him, we can feel hopeful for this new year because our gracious and merciful Lord is sovereign over it all.
Heavenly Father, we are humbled by Your unending love and mercy for us. We praise Your holy name. Realign our steps to Yours every morning and embolden our hearts to trust You fully in this new year. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Hebrews 4:16, "Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (ESV)
Isaiah 41:10, "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (ESV)
COMPEL Training's Direct Access: A Writers Book Club is kicking off March 1, featuring a study of how Tracie Miles' wrote her newest book, Living Unbroken: Reclaiming Your Life and Your Heart After Divorce. This study will help you grow as you write about whatever topic God has placed on your heart. Click here to purchase access to participate and learn about writing directly from Tracie and her editor! Want to participate in the study for free? Click here to become a member of COMPEL Training today!
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Prayerfully bring your New Year's resolutions and hopes before the Lord. How does His promise of mercy in Lamentations 3:22-23 encourage you in your endeavors?
We'd love to hear from you. Share with us in the comments today!
© 2021 by Corrie Gerbatz. All rights reserved.