As each new year approaches, four cliché words consistently resurface in my mind: “New Year, New Me.” I must admit, thinking about a new year with a clean slate is exciting! I have the opportunity to start different hobbies, take on extra responsibilities, and reinvent myself. A new year also presents each of us the time to recover from the challenges that were thrown at us.
This past year was one of the most difficult years I’ve ever experienced. I became newly engaged while trying to complete the last of my requirements before obtaining my degree. Between a graduation portfolio, full-time classes, two jobs, and a long distance relationship, my schedule left me with little time to study. I was surviving on coffee, small paychecks, and short frantic prayers. Everything felt so close, yet too far to grasp. I remember lying in bed at night with the overwhelming pressure weighing me down as I desperately prayed for the motivation to wake up the next morning just to do it all over again.
December eventually arrived and my senior year finally came to a close. I graduated with a BA in English, and immediately the pressure and anxiety melted away! All the last minute assignments and torturous late nights were over. I was sure that once I left college, life would be easy. Who was I kidding? In just one month, I’d graduated from college, gotten married, moved to Indiana, and am now trying to secure a new job in my new location. “Easy” isn’t exactly the word I’d use anymore. Now that it’s a new year, I’m finding it less exciting and more challenging to start fresh. I’ve always thought of myself as fairly adaptable, but I’ll admit, I’ve been struggling to adapt to this new stage of life with its unfamiliar obstacles.
We all have new stages we’re experiencing. Maybe for some of you it’s not graduating college. Maybe you are recently married, have added a new member to your family, or are exploring a different career path. Whatever the stage, it can be worrisome to start in unfamiliar territory. We’re creatures of habit – comfortable with our daily lives and repetitive schedules. Although a new start to the year is exciting, it’s for sure not without its challenges and concerns. Joshua 1:9 says this, “Remember that I have commanded you to be determined and confident! Do not be afraid or discouraged, for I, the Lᴏʀᴅ your God, am with you wherever you go.” This particular verse is encouraging because I’ve experienced a lot of change, but despite these frightening changes, Christ remains the same.
Life will never be easy and we’ll always be entering a different stage, but we’re not alone. In this new year, I challenge each of you to take your unfamiliar experiences and instead of feeling anxious, choose to learn from them. Remain open to new changes with a positive attitude and allow God to turn them into growth!
Madeleine Lowe writes from Indiana.
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