Each New Year’s Day I rise before the rest of my family to worship, pray, and often write.  I usually quietly start dismantling Christmas, but this year with broken bones I’m leaving that task for everyone else. I also pull out the new calendar and carry over the important dates from one year to the next. I love the peaceful rhythm of a New Year’s Day morning and the solitude moments of reflection in each of these tasks. It’s always felt somehow as if I’m setting the new year in order, broadly applying structure to the unknown.

Today as I was preparing to discard my desk calendar, I was struck by the idea that a lived life is a messy life. It’s complicated, unpredictable, and constantly changing. My December calendar pad alone communicates this story. This is the space in my office where I largely chart out the details of work, family, and side hustles one month at a time. I highlight important activities I shouldn’t forget and scratch out those events that get changed. No matter how clean and ordered this pad looks at the beginning of each month, this is always how each month ends…usually with coffee rings added too. 

I think we love the new year because it’s not lived in yet. It’s clean and clear and stain-free — it’s not messy yet. The new and uncharted is seemingly filled with potential and hope. It’s out of this hope that resolutions are born. But the problem is, if we don’t change our thinking and patterns, we only fill up the new space with more of the old, another chapter in the same story. 

To truly create something new in our lives we must transform our thinking and our habits. This requires active participation, not passivity. Right now, I am working very hard to regain the use of my left hand, like seriously, I am training my fingers how to curl again.  If don’t actively and constantly participate in my physical therapy, I will end up with a limb that is not functional, not only in my hand but in my elbow and shoulder too. I either engage or face the future with a handicap. This is why my word for 2022 is “restore.”

The good news for all of us is that transformation is possible! Scripture promises us that God’s mercy is new every morning (Lam.3:22-23), that he is doing a good work in our lives (Phil.1:6), and that renewal can be accomplished (Rom. 12:2).  It brings peace to my heart to know that I don’t have the future alone and that all my unknowns are held in the hands of my good and faithful heavenly Father. He is good all the time and he is for us, even in the messy details of our life.

As you move into 2022, where are you pursuing transformation?  What is your word for this coming year? Drop a comment below and while you’re at it, let me know how I can be praying for you too. 

Happy New Year!