By Rebekah McCloud
There is a renewed fascination and appreciation of all things mid-century modern, retro, vintage, and old school. Vinyl records, functional furniture, natural hair styles, and a return to good home training are gaining popularity and in some circles are in fashion again. However, there are some old things we need to toss out. Some old things we need to stop doing; some old habits we need to break; and some old attitudes we need to change. Some old … you fill in the blank.
As Christians, when we give our lives to the Lord, we are transformed into new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17) and we take off the old self and put on a new spirit (Colossians 3:9-11) as we rise to a new life in Christ (Romans 6: 3-4). Taking on a new life or embarking on a new beginning is sometimes scary, unpredictable, difficult, or confusing, yet it is always worthwhile. We can trust the Lord to walk with us during this transition. He renews us daily (2 Corinthians 4: 16-17) and gives us a new spirit (Ezekial 11:19 & 36:26).
I read an article by Rachel Sharpe (2022). In it she shares 13 ways to embrace new beginnings.
1. Let go of the past
2. Know change can be good
3. Create new goals
4. Surround yourself with good people
5. Practice meditation
6. Build new habits
7. Tackle new opportunities
8. Create a vision board
9. Lean on gratitude
10. Take a break
11. Refresh your wardrobe or office
12. Find a new coach or mentor
13. Celebrate your progress
Here is my take on a few of them. First, let go of the past. Sometimes we get stuck in the should of, could of, would of … you did, they did, I did cycle of things. We can never move forward looking in the rearview mirror. That is why the front windshield is much bigger. We must forgive ourselves and others. God forgets our past (Hebrews 8:12) and does not consider former things. Instead, he does a new thing in our lives (Isaiah 43: 18-19). I thank God that his mercies are new each morning (Lamentations 3:22-24). God can give us rest (Matthew 11:29) and peace (Philippians 4:7). He can provide us with directions (Proverbs 20 24) and give us grace (2 Corinthians 9:8). He can help us resist temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13) and he can fulfill his every promise (Roman’s 4:21). Stop looking back at them/it and start/keep looking forward at him. Let go of the past.
Second, know change can be good. It has been said that besides death and taxes, change is the only definite thing in life. The dictionary says change means to make something different or replace something with something else that is newer or better. When we give our lives to the Lord, we decide to make Jesus our choice. We trust him, depend on him, and follow him. We make a commitment to our different, new, and better life. Romans 6:4 says we can walk in the “newness of life” because the Lord makes all things new. Acts 17:28 reminds us that, “in him we live and move and have our being.” Change can be good. When we need support, just call on the Lord. Isaiah 55:6 encourages us to “seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” The Lord is near to all who call on him (Psalms 145:18). This walk with Christ is wonderful; just taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8). Know change can be good.
Third, lean on gratitude. Letting go of the past and making a change are huge steps. It is often scary to travel this now unfamiliar and seemingly narrow path. We are not alone. The Lord goes before us, is with us and will never leave us (Deuteronomy 31 8). Give thanks. He renews our strength daily (Isaiah 40:31). Give thanks. He will make our enemies our footstools (Luke 20:43). Give thanks. He is for us and none can be against us (Romans 8:31). Give thanks. He is a lamp unto our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105). Give thanks. We are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37). Give thanks. Living a life filled with gratitude allows us to see the cup half full instead of half empty, we see abundance instead of lack, we are positive instead of negative, and we look at him and not at them. Lean on gratitude.
There is still a lot of good in some old things, old ways, old ideas, and old ideals. This life with Christ is better than anything we have had before. How we move forward is based on how we choose to respond. I am reminded of the hymn, “Yes, Lord, Yes.” It says, “Yes, Lord, yes, to your will and to your way. Yes, Lord, yes, I will trust you and obey. When your Spirit speaks to me, with my whole heart I’ll agree. And my answer will be yes, Lord, yes!”
With an open and grateful heart, say yes!