I’ve made a horrible decision.
In preparation for Christmas, I completely cleared off the section of the kitchen island that’s usually reserved for my pile of papers. Since we moved here five and a half years ago, this messy spot has contained everything from to-do lists to forms that need signing, from my calendar to receipts, from work-related papers to my keys. (Well, maybe not my keys. Those things could be anywhere!)
We were talking about how nice it looked, and I made the offhand comment, “Maybe that should be my New Year’s resolution. I’ll keep that spot clean.”
My daughter said, “That would be good. It looks so nice.”
What did I just do?
If you have a spot like this, you know my pain—because this isn’t just about stopping an old habit; it’s about creating a new one too. You see, this meant I needed to figure out how I was going to reorganize, which meant I have spent our winter break cleaning other portions of the house in preparation for this ridiculously major life change. (My husband warned the kids that if they sat in one place too long, they might get put in the pile for the thrift store too.)
You know what? I know this plan will go awry occasionally. There will be times when our calendar is exceptionally full and I fall back into old habits. Just because I’ll go through moments when I’m not disciplined doesn’t mean the effort wasn’t worth it though. I can start over. (Remind me to report back at the end of next year to see how this went.)
This is a reminder for our faith lives too. If we have emotional and spiritual stuff piling up, whether sins or resentments or frustrations or grudges, it looks so much nicer when those get cleaned out. At a time in the world when the love of most is growing cold, we do not conform to the pattern of this world. With the Holy Spirit living in us, we are transformed by renewing our mind, by cleaning out the garbage—and keeping it out. We repent, we confess, we pray, we take captive our thoughts, and we forgive.
You know what? This will go awry every so often. There will be times when we fall back into old habits. Don’t give up. God hasn’t. He has grace and forgiveness and a fresh start every day: “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22,23).
Because of Jesus and grace, every day is a new day. And this will be a Happy New Year!
P.S. What’s your New Year’s resolution? What’s your faith-life resolution? Leave a note in the comments so we can encourage you!
Linda Buxa is a writer and editor who doesn’t usually make New Year’s resolutions, but she often does speak without thinking, which is how she got into this whole keep-the-counter-clean predicament in the first place.
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