I love January 1.  I like to pretend that it really is a new day, different and set apart from the rest.  That I truly can walk into a new year with a sense of anticipation, and a relief that the past is fully behind me, in deeper, purer ways.  (This is especially true after particularly difficult years…and people, 2011 has won my prize as worst year to date.) 

I love packing things away. Throwing things out. Shutting doors. Moving on. 

I love clean slates.  Square one.  All things new.  Beginnings.  Tabula rasa. Fresh starts. 

God does too, it seems.  He says in Zechariah 10:6, “I know their pain and will make them good as new. They’ll get a fresh start, as if nothing had ever happened. And why? Because I am their very own God, I’ll do what needs to be done for them.” 

As you head into this coming year, do you feel a need to start over, in any area of your life? Does your heart soar, like mine, to be reminded that God sees and knows our pain?  That he promises to make us good as new

Then here’s where you start.  2 Samuel 22:21a says, “God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him.  When I cleaned up my act, he gave me a fresh start.”  So it begins with an honest assessment of your heart and life, confessing where you’ve found yourself off-track (to God and to another person if possible) and then determining changes, no matter how small, that need to be put into place. Accompany this inside look with a simple prayer: “Bring us back to you, God – we’re ready to come back. Give us a fresh start.” (Lamentations 5:1) 

Remember that it will come to us only one way.  I Corinthians 1:26 says that “everything we have – right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start – comes from God by way of Jesus Christ.”  Jesus is our new beginning, each and every time, no matter the circumstance or depth of pain. 

And through this process, hold onto this promise from 2 Samuel 22:21b, “I feel put back together. God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.” When you come before God – as a woman, wife, mother, friend, daughter, employee, child of his – and you bring him your truest self in all its complexities and missteps and heartache, he will gently restore you. It will not be overnight. It will not always be painless. But if a fresh start is what you’re after, he is the only path to moving forward. 

Happy New Year and happy new beginning. 

Life isn't always how we want it. When change seems elusive, and we're stuck in old routines, a gentle push or some self-reflection can make a difference. Let these questions be that nudge to get you moving.

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