Wednesday, January 8, 2014

On Moving Forward

Just about a week ago, I barreled into 2014 with great verve and vigor. To be honest, 2013 wasn't all that kind. It was filled with bouts of deep depression, a 1.5 month illness, job disappointments and a whole bunch of other baggage. Maybe some of you can relate.

And so when January 1st rolled around, I was thrilled that I could start something new. I shook off the burdensome year past and looked forward to this next glorious year. I felt hopeful, strong, and confident that things would miraculously change for the better.

Well, 7 days later and. so far, not much has changed from 2013. At least, situationally speaking. And, as any good overachiever knows, it's easy to think all the changes of the year should happen right smack at the beginning so I can get on with it. Obviously, that's not the way it works.

Still, last Sunday, I was reminded of something that has continued to shape my perspective on this new year and feed my sense of new hope.  My pastor spoke at church on 

Isaiah 43: 18 & 19, 

"Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness, and streams in the desert"

I've been hearing strains of this sentiment in posts by other bloggers, conversations with friends, and thoughts of my own as I spend time reading the Bible and reflecting on my life. And yet, it hadn't all come together yet. I was still looking back every few minutes at 2013. Nervous and anxious that I hadn't really shaken the year. That nothing was going to really change. Finally, this morning, though, as I sat journaling and drinking ginger tea before heading out into the frigid air for work. my mind, and my heart, got it. 

I'm not meant to keep looking back at what was. No, I'm meant to look to the new thing God is doing in my life, and the space around me. Isaiah asks, "do you not perceive it?" Because maybe this "new thing" isn't smacking me in the face while I sit lazy on my couch and lament about my poor year. I have to look for it. My new thing. It is here. And it's not just passively here, it's springing forth. There is energy, life and light. It is a way in the wilderness, a stream in the dry, dry desert. 

But, I can't see any of those things if I'm continuing to look back. If I'm so busy seeing where I came from that I never look where I'm going, then this year won't be any different than the last. 

Do you remember how, in driving school, we learned to keep our eyes on the road, especially at night, because wherever our eyes are focused, that's where our car goes? This morning I remembered to put my eyes back on the road and on to the One who is doing a new thing, always. Who is making a way in my wilderness. 

This year might not be a glorious year to remember, either (or it might!). But my hope is to keep a better perspective in the inevitable moments of fear, failure and disappointment sprinkled among the more jubilant times.  

Jesus is making me new every day. He doesn't have to wait for a date on the calendar to start.