Psalm 61:2 (KJV)
From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee,
when my heart is overwhelmed,
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
New years are sentimental.
Just like birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and so and so. And it's not that you can only make a change on specific dates and days of your life. But, there's that common agreement that we have indeed entered a new page. New pages are blank, clean and pretty to look at. By the end of the year, of by whatever chapter of life you are in, when we look back at that paper, we will probably find it messy, dirty, and slightly crippled all over. So I guess every time we get a blank page freshly given by the universe, we somehow always want to keep it that way. Or if we can be honest to ourselves, what we really want is to paint beautiful things on it.
That's why new year resolutions are everywhere, new-year-new-me post its, goals and plans are jotted down as we anticipate the hour to reach 12:00AM. It's not a surprise. But more than anything, I think it embodies a certain truth. It shows our longing for growth, for better tomorrows and for good changes. It shows our wanting for hope and grace. It invites us to reflect on blessings and pains, and successes and hardships.
And I think we will realize that many times, those failures are inevitable. We woke up with our knees scraped, problems unsolved and hearts discouraged. Things happen, shit happens. It's impossible to keep the page clean. The flaws and stains are what shapes us, grows us into better characters than we were in the previous chapters and pages.
But the paintings. The images and writings we jot down on them, the beautiful parts that we value most. They all happen by choice. It's intentional that the page is colored red, not blue. That it has a 4-line poem instead of a whole page of short story. Perhaps it has your dog's picture and not your own. You choose. It's completely within your power.
For me personally, this year I’m going to choose joy. I know that in the previous years, of course I’ve chosen joy many times. Of course I’ve had great times, rolling on the floor laughing out loud and all that. But I’m not just talking about that. I’m talking about a perspective. I’m talking about that contentment, a sense of knowing that I have been made whole in Christ and actually living it out. I’m talking about that conscious decision to respond to circumstances in the right attitudes. I’m talking about rising above, beyond feelings and facts. Because if the joy of the Lord is my strength (Nehemiah 8:10b), and I know I will need to be strong this year, then I’m choosing joy.
I choose to rise above. I choose joy.
What are you choosing this year?
James 1: 2-3
Dear brothers and sisters,
when troubles of any kind come your way,
consider it an opportunity for great joy.
For you know that when your faith is tested,
your endurance has a chance to grow.