By Lara Casey
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
As a personal trainer years ago, January was always an exciting month.
People packed the gym, energy soared and hope flowed like water. This was a fresh new start. Great things were ahead!
Then, come February 1 … you know where this is going. I’ve been right there too, making progress on some goals then weeks later, getting bogged down by inner shame: I failed. I can’t do this. I am not enough. I messed up — all hope is lost!
There is nothing magical about January 1st and no matter what you’ve done or not done, great things are ahead with God. The best is yet to come. Every day we are given the opportunity to be made new in Christ, not by our might but by our surrender. As Paul reveals in our key verse: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
I need that truth written on a Post-it Note and plastered to my forehead every day.
As a toddler mama, wife, business owner and friend, I mess up a lot. We need new starts around here like we need daily food and clean diapers. I try to control just about everything: nap times, schedules and my to-do lists. When things begin getting out of control and I feel Madame Overwhelmed creeping up behind me, I think back to a cold day one November when things started to change.
I was so afraid to let go. I was afraid of more pain. I was afraid my life would never be the same.
But I soon realized that the tighter I held the reins of control, the more intense the pain became. The day my daughter Grace was born, I learned a life-altering truth: my need for control was holding life back.
Perhaps your roadblocks aren’t roadblocks at all, but rather new beginnings in disguise. Perhaps your missteps are actually opportunities for growth, greater closeness with God or a nudge to take a leap of faith.
In order for a seed to sprout, the outer casing first has to fall away, or surrender, in order for new life to come. The same is true with our lives. We must let go a little — or sometimes a lot — for our new start to be revealed. As Paul says in Philippians 3:13b-14, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (NIV).
My middle school English teacher had the words “This too shall pass” permanently painted on her classroom bulletin board. (And am I grateful that the awkward days of perming my already-curly hair did pass!) While those words on the chalkboard didn’t originate from the Bible, they do reveal some truth.
This life and everything in it will pass away, but God’s love never changes. Our new start can’t be found in more money, more business, more fun, more stuff or more visits to the gym. Our new start is found only in Him.
Lord, I have found myself overwhelmed at times, trying to do it all. I am so grateful You’re in control so I don’t have to be! Thank You for Your radical grace that makes all things new. Help me see my failures and mistakes as You see them: opportunities to draw closer to You. Help me find my worth and identity only in You, not in my accomplishments and not in my missteps. I love You Lord. I want to be closer to You, always sure of the fresh start I have been given because of Your sacrifice! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Devotional forwarded to you by:
UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT
NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord
University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC