“New Year, New You”
This was the title of the Real Simple Magazine issue I received in the mail mid-December. It was beautiful, and it held promises of this year being different, this year being about me, this year finally having an organized closet with one of those trendy capsule wardrobes where you only own five pieces of clothing, this year being the year of a “new me.”
New years are fun. They offer a sort of built-in reset button, a time to step back and look at your life and evaluate whether things are going the way you want them to. Christmas decorations come down (eventually), Christmas presents are set in place, and old and unused items are purged to make way for all things shiny and new.
But gosh, can I just admit that new years can also be really stressful?
This year, our holidays consisted of a two-week break from school that started with a sickness that ended up lasting pretty much through the entire break. Amidst the sickness, we managed to still have lots of time with family (and I mean lots), events almost every other night, and a steady stream of presents coming in for about a week. Once Christmas was over and we were all feeling a little bit better, we had a couple days of rest before heading on a little mini-vacation with two other families over New Years. Relaxing? Maybe. Exhausting? Definitely.
Despite the fact that it was exhausting, we had a great time with our friends and their kids, and it was an awesome way to start the new year. Not so awesome? Coming back to a house that had been largely neglected for two weeks and now had several piles of new stuff that was in desperate need of organizing, or worse, returning.
And then there’s this magazine. New year, new you. Yes, it’s inspiring, but it’s also a little bit stress-inducing. I don’t know why this happens, maybe it’s a woman thing, but we are so good at turning potentially healthy advice and opportunities into crushing to-dos and must-haves.
I read these things about organizing my closet and thing “oh my gosh look at my closet! It’s so unorganized and cluttered! I need to get this fixed!” Or I start reading this book and think “what am I doing with my life? I need a job! We need a budget! It’s the new year, we’ve got to get on this stat!” Every morning on the Today Show Matt and Natalie are talking about one more thing we can do to be healthier, happier, richer, fitter (okay, technically I think it’s “more fit,” but fitter sounds better), nicer, younger looking, better rested…oh my goodness, it’s exhausting.
I’m seven days in to the new year, and I’ve already run myself ragged trying—no, merely thinking about trying—to revamp my entire life. And I’m thinking, surely this isn’t what God would want for me.
Remember this post I wrote a while back about quietness? I certainly need to remember it. It’s so easy for me to fall back into striving, to pile on to-dos until my head spins when I look at my lists upon lists upon lists of things I’ll never get around to. I hate it. And you know what else? I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be a “new me” this year purely because I clean out my closet and start making my own baby food.
No, I think, that’s not what God has for me. And then a verse pops into my head, “one degree of glory to another.” And I look it up, and I’m reminded. This is what God has for me.
Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
…But when oneturns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,5 are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:4-6, 16-18)
The “new me” that God has for me is in Him, in the confidence that I have in Christ and what He has done and is doing for me. When I turn to Him, I can see clearly, and there is freedom. Freedom from the law, freedom from the striving, freedom from the claiming that anything comes from me and the feeling of never being enough. And He is transforming me, from one degree of glory to another, to become more and more like HIM. Not like the woman Real Simple wants me to be, not like the woman the Today Show says I can be, but like Christ.
So if there is to be a “new me” this new year, I hope and pray that it will come from The Lord. Sure, I can clean out my closet and throw all of my kids’ toys away (kidding, sort of) and I’ll feel better, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But I know the one thing that will truly sustain me is the reconfiguring of my heart, the turning of my face toward Jesus.