Updated: Jan 27, 2020
5, 4, 3, 2, 1...
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
The ball drops,
the confetti is thrown,
loud music plays,
and just like the fireworks in the sky, all of your bad habits dissipate into thin air too.
Or, do they?
Because as far as I'm concerned, no change really happens unless you make it happen.
Not exactly what we like to realize when we're making our resolutions.
But, it's the truth, right? There's no magic between December 31st and January 1st. And, with that, it's not often that a bad habit disappears overnight. And, though this is common knowledge we may already obtain, it is still quite the disappointment when things simply feel... the same.
Same as in, you are still tempted to text him back though you swore you would only focus on yourself in the new year.
Same as in, you still crave a hot, gooey chocolate chip cookie in the middle of the night when you said you would start eating healthier come January.
Same as in, you still feel tempted to go back to looking at those images and watching those videos when you thought you left that addiction behind.
Same as in, you planned for the year to be totally different, and so far, it feels like nothing has changed at all.
Well, you're reading the right blog post.
This month, I am writing to those of you who messed up early—those of you ate the cookie on the first week of your 31-day diet, those of you who smoked the blunt two days in, the reader who fell in the very temptation you thought you'd never fall into again.
Because it is one thing to talk about your mistakes from five months ago, but it's a whole other thing to talk about the one you made five minutes ago.
The new mistake. The raw one. The one you thought you would never make again.
It's when they follow you into the new year is when you feel the most shame.
Because it's supposed to be your year, right? Isn't that what you've been telling yourself? That you'd lose the weight, forget the guy, beat the addiction, overcome the depression? What do you do when you're four weeks in and you feel like you haven't? Or even worse, you feel like you can't?
As someone who is quite the perfectionist, wanting a clean slate from start to finish, I struggle the most in situations like these—when not only did the ball drop, but I dropped the ball! I made a mistake, I caved. I did the very thing I thought I left behind before the new year began. And, while the enemy would love to dangle the mistake over my head and take joy in convincing me that God is keeping a record of my wrongs in heaven, I have had to remind myself of the good news of the gospel—a news I want you to read this month too:
It's not over yet.
There's still time to win in the new year. Starting off on the wrong foot doesn't mean that the race is over. Your only job now is to keep running. And, when you run, you'll find that there are many more challenges to come. Many more obstacles, a lot more temptation. But, being tempted is the direct result of you deciding on making a change. No one is tempted from something they are not already delivered from.
So, for those of you who fell, know that the mistake you made "too early" in the new year doesn't indicate that it's too late.
Clean slates aren't just reserved for January 1st. They're good for every day, every moment, every night. You did not miss your only chance to start again. You can start again & again, again & again...
Through the perfect and redemptive power of Jesus Christ.
He knew you would cave. He knew you would fall.
And, because He knew, He died. He shed His blood, gave you a new chance long ago, so that even when the rooster crowed, Peter still had residency in heaven.
So, when the heat of failure and the shadow of shame hover over you, know that you have a place to put it, a place where shame belongs—on the cross and in the grave, for you were predestined for victory.
And, in the same way you'll have many victories, you'll have many challenges as well. But, take heart! The challenges are what makes the victory victorious. So, when you face an obstacle in the new year, know that you're also facing the opportunity to win. And, if you feel like you can't win when the temptation is breathing down your neck, don't fear. Don't be afraid. Because I can assure you, the battle is already won.