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a new year, a new step

Sometimes the new year feels like a "reset" button...a chance to start over, to move on from the past, to abandon the old and pick up the new. For a perfectionist such as me, I love new beginnings, because I get the opportunity to do things a little bit better than I did last time. I was one of those weird people that loved taking tests and getting back my scores in school, because I was able to better assess, evaluate, compare, and analyze the potential for improvement.

This new year, I found myself thinking more about the past and less about the future. I wondered why, as I usually look forward to sitting down and setting goals (and a plan to accomplish them) in the new year. But I think God was challenging my idea of the "reset" button.

Renewal. Restoration. Rebirth. Redemption. These are all aspects of the Christian life that are seen as we grow in maturity. And the beauty is seen in all of them when we understand where we came from (and what we are commanded to grow towards--"Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:48).

I will not dwell on the past, but I will not forget it either. I will GROW from it. And I will remember that moving on in the future is not about rising above the pain of failure and heartache, but allowing God to heal and ultimately rejoice in my sufferings for His glory. Sometimes I treat my past like it's categorized into a series of time spans that's mapped out on a graph based on how little struggle I went through.

This year, I want my eyes opened wider to how God sees my life...not based on comfort or happiness, but on dependence and surrender.

I want to speak of the provision of God...not just in my joy, but in my deepest sorrows. 

I want to claim the freedom that is found in a new birth in Christ...not forgetting that his love is made perfect in my weakness.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4

I love the word complete in this passage. The dictionary defines complete as having all the necessary steps in order to be fully carried out. When I read these verses, I picture a staircase in which I am walking up. Some of the stairs are nicely carpeted, others are made of unfinished, splintered wood. As a perfectionist, I would like my staircase to look pristine and uniform.

But each step is made for a reason. It's taking me closer to completeness in Christ. Growing from the past doesn't always mean starting over and forgetting the past. God's love has been the same; yesterday, today, and forever. From the day I was born to now, he's been shaping me with a testimony of how He has overcome.

And so, may I learn to see 2010 more like another step towards growth and less like a "reset" button that was pushed at the end of the midnight countdown.

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