It is hard to believe that Christmas has come and gone and that a new year is here. New Year’s Day can be the most excruciating day of the year for me. Forced to access performance professionally, I carry the spirit of evaluation into more personal areas, more-often-than-not a painful exercise. Finding it difficult to confine appraisal to the immediate year, thoughts frequently drift back over a lifetime and herein lies the rub. It is far easier to lament failure than to celebrate progress. Disappointment looms large when moping over a big picture that encompasses missed opportunity, impotent decision making, intentional disobedience, and insufficient courage. Shadow boxing with the worst of me, I am in danger of ending up with jaded expectations of what lurks in the fog ahead. Thankfully, God offers a better way.
“God pardons like a mother, who kisses the offense into everlasting forgiveness.” ~Henry Ward Beecher
Actually, a New Year holds incredible potential as a rich time for evaluation as well as prayerful planning. There are plenty of dissonant voices sounding off against resolution-making, but I relish the idea of new beginnings. Perhaps it is because I know what it is to live with regret, but I enthusiastically approach this fresh reset for righting wrongs, pioneering efforts, and course correction. “Forgiveness is the giving, and so the receiving, of life” (George McDonald). We are not created to live in reverse. Our bodies face forward; our lives should as well. Each of us has reason to occasionally crane our head around to look behind, but the greater portion of our time should be spent scanning what lies ahead. The horizon spreads before us, not abaft. Our past is forgiven and our future guaranteed. Regardless of how you look upon such things, I encourage you to carve out time this week and next for ample reflection, prayer, and more than a little self-forgiveness.
“Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.”
(Philippians 3:13-14 | NRSV)