What the new year is and isn’t

It snuck up on me this year, New Year’s Eve, the new year, like an old friend on tiptoes waiting to cover my eyes and let me guess who was standing behind me. I had a sense it was coming, but still, it surprised me.

It’s not that I forgot its coming. I just lacked the necessary anticipation.

I spent New Year’s Eve talking to my husband by phone, seeking a connection with God, hanging out with my kids and my parents in front of the TV, watching Taylor Swift “Shake It Off” in 30-degree weather in Times Square.

There was no big to-do. I’m not much for parties or large gatherings and frankly did not have the energy for any kind of effort toward special for New Year’s Eve.

I’ve barely had time to reflect on 2014 and look ahead to 2015, and I wonder if I’m already setting myself up for failure in the year ahead.

Liane Metzler / Creative Commons / via unsplash

Liane Metzler / Creative Commons / via unsplash

Doesn’t the new year require a plan? Goals? Checklists?

I have few of those things in mind or on paper, and I have the feeling of being late or behind before the year begins.

As I considered the year ahead, what may or may not happen, I journaled these words:

A new year brings so many hopes and fears and dreams and expectations. Let me not give too much weight to a single day, month, moment or year. Let me see it for what it is–a part of the whole. A piece of something bigger. One chapter in the story. One verse in the song.

And then I read Psalm 90, a perfectly appropriate reading for New Year’s Eve (thank you, Book of Common Prayer). I’d encourage you to read the whole thing but here are the words that give me strength and hope for a new year.

You have been our refuge from one generation to another.

From age to age you are God.

We bring our years to an end like a sigh.

Teach us to number our days.

Make us glad by the measure of the days that you afflicted us and the years in which we suffered adversity.

Prosper the work of our hands.

I hate how much pressure we put on a year at its beginning. I believe in fresh starts and chasing dreams and goals that scare you a little, but I’m learning that those things often take more time than we want them to and to put all our hopes in the start of one year is to maybe set ourselves up for disappointment.

I want 2015 to be different. I want to be different in 2015. But I will not let one year of my life–good or bad–define the rest of my years. I will choose to see how each new year builds on the last. How even the hard times are working toward something better and good. I will not give up when a year is full of more loss than gain.

And I won’t rest on the security of good days, imagining them to be the only way from here on out.

2015 is just another year.

You can start fresh.

You can rebuild.

You can look up.

You can leave 2014 behind.

You can hope, dream, expect.

But remember that what happens this year is one small part of something bigger: your entire life.

What happened in 2014 doesn’t define you.

What’s coming in 2015 won’t either.

You are loved by a Creator who is writing your story, one chapter at a time.

Hang on till the end.

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3 thoughts on “What the new year is and isn’t

  1. This is kinda sorta the theme of my new year post too. We tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves to change when really we need to see the whole picture and see God! Thanks.

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