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  • Alane Stanton

Begin Anew in 2022

My marriage ended, so I began anew as a single woman.


My son died, and I began a new season of motherhood lost.


My father passed away, and I began anew with one parent.


A move to a new state began a new chapter and different way of life.


You would think I had this new beginning thing down, right?


As a new year begins, I am once again faced with the old adage, "What now?"


Resolutions fly around on social media, in our journals, on sticky notes, and run amok in our minds until we begin to feel overwhelmed. Can I lose that extra weight this year? Do I accept that new position or remain in the old? Will the garage finally be organized and free of clutter? What can I do to be happier, healthier, and so on ... and on ... and on ...


Stress follows as we resolve to make them all happen. Then guilt creeps in when we fail to fulfill our commitments. Why do we do this to ourselves???


For me, New Year's Day came and went without a single resolution being made. No commitments were etched down in concrete only to be shattered by the jackhammer of distraction later.


BUT GOD...


My pastor shared in his message this morning that he doesn't want this to be his best year ever. If it's our best year ever, then it is all down hill from here. Wow! How quick we are to throw around the cliche, "Have the best year ever!" "Best day ever!" "Best holiday ever!" What if we used the term "yet" instead of "ever?"


What if we just try to live each day, one day at a time, without worry, stress, or guilt for being human?


We are going to fail; but we pick ourselves back up and try again.


We are going to worry about things that we can't control. But we can give them to a God who is in control, and let Him handle them so much better than we ever could.


We are going to mess up; but we give ourselves grace.


As the new year begins, we begin a new chapter in our lives. It is largely up to us how the story plays out, but God is the author and finisher of our faith. He is in control. He gave us the freedom of choice, but ultimately He controls our destiny and how our story ends.


I challenge you, just as I am challenging myself, to begin this new chapter called 2022 with the following:

Love. Hope. Joy. Peace. Faith. Goodness. Kindness. Grace. Forgiveness. Integrity.


By choosing to focus on the positive, instead of the negative, we will make this a beautiful new beginning filled with all of the above. I believe the key to all of this is total surrender.


Surrender the hurt.

Surrender the loss.

Surrender the disappointment.

Surrender the fear of failure.

Surrender the past.

Surrender the future.

Surrender anything that hinders forward movement.


Let it go, give to Jesus, and take that first step. Then another. And another.


Satan will do all he can to defeat us in this new year by bringing up past hurt, loss, disappointment, and failures. He will whisper in our ears how badly we screwed up in the past, and that our future doesn't look much better. Distractions will come to keep us from living out our resolutions, so carefully crafted. People will disappoint us, hurt our feelings, and make us feel less than.


BUT GOD ...


By surrendering all the past mistakes, disappointments, hurts, and loss, I am free to move forward in the love, hope, joy, peace, faith, goodness, kindness, grace, forgiveness, and integrity that God has written ALL OVER my life. Today I begin anew by claiming all He has so generously given and keeps on giving in order for me to have a wonderfully blessed and fulfilling 2022.


Won't you join me in making this our best year yet?


_____________________________


Let's begin anew, my dear friend. God's promises, gifts, and blessings are ours for the receiving. We need only to open our hearts and minds to claim them, and then we will have a life worth living and celebrating; not just as a new year begins, but daily. Happy New Year, Dear One!


"Therefore, ... let us also lay aside [surrender] every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." - Hebrews 12:2


"You were taught ... to be made new in the attitude of your minds and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." - Ephesians 4:22-24


"Forget [surrender] the former things; DO NOT DWELL ON THE PAST. See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." - Isaiah 43:18-19


"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:6-7


"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, "I AM MAKING EVERYTHING NEW!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." - Revelation 21:4-5


And one of my favorite verses to claim as a new chapter begins ...


"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11









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