It is a new calendar year, with new resolutions and new ambitious goals. We crack open delightfully empty new planners, begin hopeful new journals, form resolute new budgets, buy new gym memberships, and have jogging shorts with the tags still on.
Starting now, we will count our blessings, money, calories, and steps. We will banish wasted time, watch our words and hold our tongues. We will be better parents, spouses, friends, neighbors, coworkers. We will pray often, and well.
This is the year, we are sure of it.
And then that little familiar hiss from our left shoulder begins its taunts. Who are you fooling? This year will be like no other. The budget will be broken, the memberships unused, the journals remain empty, relationships still strained. You will not be healthier, holier, happier. You will fail, and failing hurts too much. Better not expect too much; maybe, really, better not even try.
You know what? If we were doing it on our own, he’d be right. But he’s a liar.
Because we are children with a rich inheritance. We are filled will all the fullness of God (Eph 3:19) from which we have received grace upon grace (Jn 1:16). He has plans for us, too, and he wants to anoint our work and bless our efforts. We do, however, have to give him efforts to bless. We’ve got to give him something to work with. We have to try.
And yes, even then, we will fail sometimes. The glorious thing is, our God is so faithful that He will take our knotted messes, unfinished projects, and broken hopes and work everything for good for those that love him (Rom 8:28). Which is us, that much we know.
So sharpen your pencils and crack open your planner. Make your lists, make your plans. Take a few moments to dream dreams for yourself over a cup of coffee. Because on top of all his other promises, there is one more I’ll hang onto.
It is one thing the devil would like you to forget: God isn’t constrained by calendars. God’s gifts mercies aren’t new every year. No. He is so, so much more generous in his goodness, lavish in his love. His mercies are new every morning.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lam 3:22-23).
We get 365 chances this year. 365 fresh starts. Every morning has been promised its share of mercies – not brushed off, polished up, half-used graces, but the brand-spankin’ new kind.
How about we take these measures of mercy and invest them in ourselves, our loved ones, our relationship with the One who pours them out like sunshine spread over the morning sky? Let’s begin now. Who’s with me?