Here’s my hands-down favorite part about any new year—I get to put the previous year behind me for good, tear off that December page on my desk calendar, and flip to a brand-new year.
And this year, 2020, is extra new—not only the new year but the start of a new decade.
Some years, I’m more than ready to put the previous year behind me, especially if it involved hardship and disappointment. Even if the previous year was good, or if I’m already expecting some major challenges ahead, I still somehow always expect the next to be even better. “This could be the year X happens!” I tell myself, giddy as a kid.
One of the most liberating things about being a Christian is the concept of being a new creation in Christ. When we repent and believe in Jesus, we get a fresh start, a blank slate, a new beginning, for He paid the price for our sins. But sometimes, if we are haunted by our past, that’s easy to say and not so easy to embrace.
When I was little, my sister and cousin and I used to make up dance routines, which often morphed into dance competitions: whoever could get the steps just right and wow the (usually invisible) crowd was crowned the champion. If we messed up, all we had to do was holler “do-over!” and we could restart without penalty.
Today, I’m looking at the new year as my grownup chance to shout, “Do over!” It’s a fresh beginning. I can’t erase the mistakes or the failures, the losses (or the wins!). But I can move on, jump past the past, and start anew.
Of course, a lot of us have sins that have stuck with us, sins we find difficult to let go. While we know Jesus has forgiven us, we can’t quite forgive ourselves. We feel entrenched in shame, certain everyone can see our mistakes written all over our face, certain that beneath the business suit or pretty dress everyone can see we’re wearing our “Scarlet Letter” T-shirt.
But rest assured, we are forgiven. In Jesus, we have a new start.
This new year, I urge you to let go of whatever past you’re still carrying around. Let go of guilt and shame. Let go of mistakes and failures. Live today! Live for those around you. Live for Jesus. And embrace the gift of the fresh start you have been given, both as a Christian and in this brand-new year and decade.
Here are some of my favorite Scriptures to help remind you we truly do get a do-over:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19
“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’” Revelation 21:5a
“Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be.” Job 8:7
Happy New Year friends, truly.