“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it?” – Anne of Green Gables
So January comes, year after year, without our permission, without our doing. By no effort of our own we get a blank slate on which to write the story of a whole new year, rife with possibility and hope and the opportunity to begin again.
New months begin, Mondays come. A chance to to continue what went unfinished, to do what we just couldn’t get to. We can try again, even if it turned out to be a mess last time and even if it won’t work this time.
And then there are mornings. Every twenty-four hours the sun rises again, its rays casting new hope and fresh mercies day after day. To those who were sad to see yesterday go and those angry at how it turned out and to those who failed a million times. Mornings come, without any help or instruction from us, bringing with them heaps of shining grace.
All this newness, all these fresh starts, all these hopeful beginnings. They pop up beside us, sparkling with the promise of another chance, and we hardly even give them a look. Laden with the burdens we carried over from yesterday, we forget that the new year, the new month, the new week, the new day is for us. A gift, generous and lavish, held out before us – ours for the taking.
Yes, you failed. Yes, you could have done better. Yes, there a million things undone. But look, there’s the sun rising, here’s the day breaking. All this newness can be yours.
Begin again, right where you are.
So you didn’t set goals for the new year, let alone make a plan for how to carry them out. So you’re haphazardly stumbling through your days, just barely getting to the absolute minimum. So you feel like you’re perpetually behind, unprepared, and overwhelmed.
So there were biting words and hurtful silence. So there wasn’t the response you meant or the appropriate attitude. So there is awkward tension and an unspoken need for resolution.
So your house is a mess and the dishes are piling high. So the car is low on gas and the fridge is low on food. So there are piles of papers and bills burying your to-do lists. So life feels just as cluttered inside as it does outside.
So you’re still eating your way through left over Christmas candy and ordering pizza every other day. So you haven’t laced up your running shoes since it first snowed. So your yoga mat has been rolled up and stored for most of the days you’ve owned it. So you are still on your first glass of water and it’s almost bedtime.
So there’s dust on the bible and the only prayers you speak these days are about finding parking spots and lost keys. So you haven’t slowed down in days (or months) to acknowledge the presence of God working beside you in your right-now life. So he seems distant and hard to reach and you feel a little bitter and jaded about the whole Christianity thing.
The invitation is more regular than the sun rising. Every minute, every second, no matter how far we’ve fallen off track, we can begin again.
“Lapses and forgetting are so frequent. Our surroundings grow so exciting. Our occupations are so exacting. But when you catch yourself again, lose no time in self-recriminations, but breathe a silent prayer for forgiveness and begin again, just where you are.” – Thomas Kelly Testament of Devotion
Maybe I’m the only one like this, but sometimes it feels impossible to get back on track in the middle of a week or half way through the day when I feel like I’ve fallen behind. I’ve missed my chance to use it well, may as well turn on Netflix and eat all the chocolate chips as I wait for a reset.
But what if we pushed reset right now? The minute we realize we’re off track can be the same minute we get back on.
If you’re feeling stuck, here are seven tips for anyone feeling like they missed their chance to make a plan for the year, but it’ll speak to anyone feeling off or behind at any point in the month, week or day.
Let’s not waste our time wallowing in our failures when there’s a fresh start within our grasp.