Debbie Salter Goodwin
Are you looking for something new in the New Year?
I think many of us want the New Year to live up to its name. What good is changing the year we write if nothing new comes with it?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t want catastrophic new. I’d like to be done with crisis and uphill journeys. I simply want that motivating new that helps you sail through the day with creative, expectant, productive power.
However, I am remembering some important lessons I learned about new. I was struggling in my college teaching job trying to balance academic responsibilities and launch a writing career. I began to think about how “something new” might help me have more time for writing. However, God gave me a wake-up call. He helped me learn some lessons about new that I don’t want to forget.
1. Everything old is raw material for new.
I don’t get to push everything I have done aside to make way for new. Instead, everything I have done, everywhere I have been, every relationship in my life becomes the raw material for anything new God wants to do. Throwing away anything from the past is escapism God doesn’t tolerate. I began to realize I needed to embrace my all-too-predictable routines and responsibilities, even my restlessness, and let them prepare me for any new thing God wanted to bring.
2. New is more challenging than old.
Old shares an expected routine. It feels safe and predictable. Just let God take away some comfortable routine or tell you to let go of a long-held perspective, and what is our usual response? We complain about it. Something new will demand from me what something old did not. It takes godly wisdom to discern what part of the old I need to let go of to be ready for something new.
3. New doesn’t change as much as you think.
I have moved enough times to recognize this truth. New places, new people, even a new job can share its excitement; but when that fresh feel of new wears off, you are the same person who lived or worked in another town or job. That’s why I should counter any restlessness for something new with serious attention to preparation and growth. When I ask questions about what needs to change in me and I allow God to help me address those changes, I find something new grows from within. When change comes from God-ordered growth, it will always take me farther into something new than any other change.
So I’m starting this New Year expecting something new, but not so much in circumstantial change or as something fresh and exciting. I want new to come as I dig for treasures God has for me right here where he has placed me. I want to greet a new day with an attitude of hopeful discovery. I want to know what God says should be new in my life.
In 1977, Isaiah 43:19 became my promise from God: See, I’m doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
But today, I use it to form a prayer.
What about you? What are your lessons about all things new?