My theme for 2016 was Maturity. This year, I’ve gotten the theme New Beginnings.
Sounds like time to start some new habits, right?
Oddly, this is the first year in recent memory where I haven’t started off the year with a list of goals in mind. In keeping with my new “just say no to stress” life philosophy, I decided not to burden myself with goal charts and schedules.
Instead, I’ve been meditating on the concept of newness.
A New Decade
At the end of the month, I will be 30 years old. Yikes. At first I was thinking of this age change as an ending: The ending of my twenties, of youth, of opportunity even. But now I see that it is also a beginning: a new decade, a new season, a new era. I am turning from one chapter of my life to another.
The possibilities are endless.
I never expected myself to be anywhere in particular by the age of 30, but it does feel strange that so much of my adult life has apparently passed. It’s strange that my childhood friends are all grown up and that college happened so long ago. Was it really over 5 years ago that I left America with turmoil in my gut, a bright-eyed 24-year-old embarking on her 10-month trip to Korea?
Wow, where does the time go?
Time keeps slipping on by, but though I’m sometimes surprised by how old I am, I’m realizing that it’s never too late for a new beginning.
I know a lot of people are looking for new hope in 2017. 2016 had its rough moments. It did. A lot of ugly, scary things are going on in the world. They still are.
But there is also a lot of good. There is a good that has never changed. It’s been right there all along, if we will just have eyes to see it.
I’ve been realizing lately that the power to make something new is quite extraordinary.
In the world, things come to an end. Relationships end. Businesses end. Seasons end. Inspiration ends. Innocence ends. Love ends. Things die. That’s the way life is. As you get older, you experience it more and grow to expect it.
The ability to redeem something broken, dead––ended? The ability to make it new?
I know of only one Person capable of that.
The Old Made New
Recently God has been resurrecting old things in my heart, things I thought were dead.
When I am deprived of something I love, I learn to cope. I learn to do without that thing, to even forget for large stretches of time that it exists.
For example, at one point I thought Baked Lays and graham crackers were necessary staples of my diet. But when I moved to Korea, I learned to live without them. I replaced them with other foods. You adjust, adapt.
But recently, God has unexpectedly given me back a love I thought I had lost: Classical music.
The circumstances aligned almost without me realizing it: the purchase of a piano, the healing of my thumb tendonitis, the opening of my schedule for practice time. I didn’t need it anymore. I had learned to live without it. But suddenly, I found myself sitting at the keys picking out new repertoire to learn, and this old love I had forgotten rose up in my heart. A joy I had lost.
It was like being young again––a child in wonder at a new discovery.
Next week, I am going on my first missions trip in 3.5 years, another love I had learned to live without. It feels like a very fitting way to start the year of new beginnings. As I enter a new decade of life, having endured a 2016 that seemed likely to make a cynic out of me, I find myself feeling surprisingly hopeful. Almost childishly naive.
I’m so glad. No matter what happens, I never want to lose my childlike wonder.
Whatever may have happened in your 2016, I’m believing new beginnings are possible for you, too, dear reader! Let’s not lose our wonder in what He is capable of!