2010 was really something, wasn’t it? It was a transition year for me, a year with as many lasts as it had firsts. It was a year full of both exhilarating successes and aggravating failures, monumental achievements and unreached goals. 2010 was big, it was fun, it was hard, it was scary, it was thrilling, it was fulfilling, it was more than I expected, and it was less than it could have been. The real defining attribute of 2010, though, is none of those things. The final word on 2010 is that it is over.
That’s right, for better or for worse, another year is behind us. I’m not sure when or why society decided that days come in 365-packs, but now, whenever we close the book on another year, people all over the world take time to look back at what they left behind. We reminisce about what we loved, what blew us away, what we hated, and more than anything we focus on what we want to change. We see a blank slate before us, 365 new days, a chance to make this year into whatever we want it to be. We set goals, some of them realistic, many of them absurd, and we spend the first week or so of January caught up in the euphoria of a fresh year.
After that first week ends, however, reality begins to set in. Despite the fact that the new year is a chance to be who we want to be, it’s no easier to break our old habits this year than it was last year. We fail, maybe in a small way, maybe irreparably, but either way we face discouragement. The one thing more powerful than a blank slate is the first mark. Suddenly, all of the magic of a fresh beginning is gone, replaced by doubt and dread. We want to start over, but 358 days still stand between us and another new start, so we push on, but we know that this year can never be quite as amazing as we dreamed that it would be. Every beginning has to end eventually, and it always hurts when it does. Eventually, we grow afraid to take the risk of starting over, because we know how badly it turned out the last time. We think that one day we’ll just run out of chances and be stranded wherever we are, knowing that it’s not quite where we wanted to be. But what if we’re wrong?
Lamentations 3:22-23 says:
“22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.”
With God, there are no last chances or final failures. He holds out fresh, clean-slate compassion not just once a year, but every morning. So you failed today, and you feel like there’s no hope for recovery. So this year looks an awful lot like last year, and that’s not a good thing. So your shortcomings are threatening to consume you, and you’re sick of fighting them with little to no success. God is there for you with enough love, compassion, and faithfulness to redeem any situation. I’m not saying that you should forget your past, but I am saying that you can move on. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t learn from your mistakes, but I am saying that you can become so much more. On our own, a new year is just another failure waiting to happen, but with our God, 2011 becomes an incredible promise of new compassions every morning and a loving Father who will never give up on the good work that He has begun in your life. This year, let every success drive you to worship and every shortfall lead you closer to the God whose faithfulness is never ending. This year, refuse to let fear of failure keep you from becoming the person God created you to be. This year, celebrate the joy of living a life that is new every morning.