I am an absolute sucker for second chances, new beginnings, and fresh starts. It should come as no surprise then when I say that the beginning of a new year is most certainly my favorite part of each year. Sure, I enjoy birthdays, holidays, and summer just like everyone else, but there is something truly magical about the first of three hundred and sixty-five new days. It’s like the first page in a wonderful new book. I tend to start each new year wide-eyed and excited for all the possibilities of ahead.
However, even though I say I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, I tend to set new goals and hopes for the year. This year, I set three goals for myself:
- Write for ten minutes each day.
- Spend daily time in prayer.
- Read twenty-four books.
I did the trendy Instagram thing of choosing one word for the year: discipline. I sat down and reflected what that word means to me, how I will focus on that this year, and studied Scripture for what it has to say about discipline. I set up pages in my journal to track my progress with these goals. I wrote a blog post about it, talked to friends about it, and told myself this would be the year I would do all the things I had been putting off for several years. This would be the year I was serious about writing and my faith.
This would be my year.
Yet here we are, a few short weeks after this “magical” new beginning, and I’m failing miserably. I haven’t been consistently writing. My time spent in prayer has been minimal at best. I haven’t been reading for fun. From the looks of it, nothing in my life has changed since the start of the new year. In fact, maybe the only changes have been feeling more exhausted, more worn down by my teaching career, and more inadequate.
What began as a sparkly new year full of possibilities has quickly turned into what seems like a weak and weary new year.
Nothing major has happened, but the exhaustion of simply plodding along through each day has been enough for me to see the effects of sin in this world. People are not always as kind as they should be. Students are not always respectful. Unwanted sickness and injuries come at inconvenient times. Life gets busy and anxiety sets in. All these seemingly small things can contribute to this weak and weary feeling.
The most beautiful thing about this feeling is that our Lord promises to lift us up in these moments. Hebrews 12:12–14 details this promise from our Lord:
Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
When our heads are drooping and our knees weak, our Lord encourages us to look up. He promises that He will make straight our paths. When we walk with our sweet Jesus, it is so, so good. When the new year isn’t quite going as we think it will and all those glistening possibilities become dull and bleak, our Jesus takes us by the hand and carefully guides us through the mess. He takes our weak and weary and gives us the strength and peace that come only through Him.
Walking with Jesus,