New things

I love the changing of years. I’m not sure why, but I always have. I think it has to do with the celebration of getting through the past year (we made it!) and reflecting on all that happened. Nostalgia plays a big part in this, but it’s also the anticipation of what’s to come—looking forward to a whole new dozen of months, fresh and ready and waiting.

At the turn of 2015, I felt the Lord telling me He was going to do a “new thing”—that 2015 would not be a year of cancer and that He was going to do something obvious and different. And He did. It’s been a year of huge heart change for me, not just in understanding what it means to be “on mission” but also obeying that mission more in my day-to-day life. When I began learning what it means to share the Gospel and make disciples of Jesus this past spring, my world was flipped upside down.

But more than that one massive thing, He did many small things too. I signed an apartment lease for the first time, went on vacation to the beach with just girlfriends (such adults!), cooked carrots and tomatoes voluntarily (yeah…), learned how to swing dance, and placed membership at a church. The past year has brimmed with new things, and I guess that’s what I love about every year.

Every year, I learn something new about myself, about the way the world works, about how other people think. I experience new tastes and sounds and feelings. Some years I feel closer to the end of my rope, and other years I feel like I’m living on a mountaintop. And that’s why life is so beautiful: it has peaks and valleys, twists and turns, that all help us feel more alive.

“Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.” That’s a quote from the book I’m reading (and loving) called All the Light We Cannot See. Isn’t it great? Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever. That’s something I want to do this year and every year—see every thing that happens instead of walking mummy-like through it. Don’t you want that too?

I want to look at friends laughing at a TV screen and see the web of stories and similarities and commonalities that weave us all together, each to another in a different way. I want to listen to radio DJs joke and banter and imagine their lives when the microphones go silent and they curl up alone in their beds at night—I want to ache for them, pray for them. I want to see birds flying in flocks overhead and actually watch where they land, why they land, instead of just adding them to the backdrop of my life.

My life— My life is everyone else’s life too. And I think if I can remember that, it’ll help me open my eyes and see as much as I can with them this year. It’ll help me see people as people, refugees with souls, strangers with faces, beggars with tears in their eyes.

And even if this year is filled with quieter new things—leaves slowly changing colors, songs fading one into the next—it will still be new…it will always be new. Because, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning…” Great is His faithfulness.

He is faithful to give us new seasons, figuratively and literally. He won’t ever tire of teaching us more about Himself and the world He’s created. He wants our best and His glory in 2016 and every year after. Cling to that, run with it. And as good old Stephen King says,

Get a little rock and roll on the radio and go toward all the life there is with all the courage you can find and all the belief you can muster. Be true, be brave, stand.
All the rest is darkness.

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