Am I the only one who felt like I was still eating Thanksgiving leftovers when I opened Christmas presents? I have the faint but distinct feeling I'm walking away from a holiday pile-up, mostly unscathed. I know December must have happened. The calendar shows it. The remnants of Christmas decorations show it. My pocket book proves it. And my waistband? Forgetaboutit.
But my soul is vibrating with the drumbeat of potential and possibilities because it is Day One. I am the champion of fresh starts, mostly because I've been the beneficiary of them so often. I love mornings and the dawn of a new day. I especially love Monday mornings (I KNOW) and the makings of a new week. I love the first day of every month. It follows suit that the start of a new year produces an inner squeal, if not with shaking knees.
Probably like you, I've spent time pondering 2013. For me it has been a study in contrasts. It has held incredible signs of God's faithfulness, transitions, and significant I DID IT moments. It has also held great disappointment, discouragement, and heartache. Since the start of a new year doesn't reverse all that came before, I'm left to consider how 2013 will affect 2014. How do the victories carry over, and how will the failures shape what I do next? What, really, is lesson of 2013 for me?
Baby Steps = Forward Motion
Two-thousand-thirteen taught me that small steps eventually cover a lot of ground. (Anyone who has cared for a toddler can testify!) We often want to make grand, sweeping leaps in the direction of our goals, but in the process thump unceremoniously to the ground. In reality, it takes more tenacity and guts to have the patience and fortitude for the small, almost imperceptible, steps of progress and forward motion. So often what we are doing is not discernible to others, and so it can throw a false light on the momentum God builds through our faithfulness in the little things. But then you take a moment, like the start of a new year, to look back and you realize you are not where you were.
It doesn't mean there are not challenges. There have been setbacks, relational hurts, and painful lessons. Yet each one of those areas provides a choice for 2014: will I be a casualty or a survivor? Will I be a powerless victim or will I use what God has given me (His Word! His Spirit!) to be a part of the solutions the challenges in my life cry for? People make choices, and choices make people.
What choices will 2013 prompt you to make in 2014? Maybe you need a fresh start, or maybe others in your life need for you to give them a fresh start. Maybe both. My destiny, your destiny, isn't a big choice to be made someday; it is shaped in the little choices we will make today.
Two-thousand-fourteen. Make this the year baby steps add up.