It’s January 2023. A new year has begun. I’ve never been one to make New Year’s resolutions, but in January I often have moments of resolve, with a new desire to exercise more, eat healthier, or this year’s: find a fun activity for relaxation. I say “moments” because the desire usually passes in a day or two without any meaningful action on my part. It was a nice idea, nothing more. While there’s something in me that longs for new beginnings, it’s all too easy to default to patterns of the past. Those habits have a hold on me.
So too, in my spiritual life, I often find it easier to run on “muscle memory.” Just do the same thing I’ve always done, in the same way I’ve always done it. Even though I crave something new, it’s hard to step into. New things sound exciting, but they are also unfamiliar, uncertain and may require a lot of effort. So the status quo usually wins out. But wait! I serve a God who loves to do new things, not just once in a while - all the time! There is no limit to His expansive creativity.
In Isaiah 43, God is speaking beautiful identity truths and courage into His people. In verse 18, He says, “forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” But He had just finished reminding them about how He made a miraculous path through the Red Sea. What’s going on here? Remembering God’s faithfulness is different from dwelling or living in the past. If we’re stuck in muscle memory, we won’t have eyes to see new things springing up in the present. We won’t see new ways in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, because we’re not looking for it!
My prayer this year is that God would help me to release old things, patterns, perceptions… anything that keeps me from perceiving the new things He is doing. Then receive His life-giving truths in Isaiah 43:1-17 (maybe go read it right now!). Is there something new that God wants you to perceive this year? Something old that you need to release to Him? Perhaps a new calling He wants to awaken in your heart. In our churches and at Love INC, it’s a privilege to discover these new things together in community. Whatever you sense, I encourage you to share it with someone else today. Each day is a new beginning.
- Jen Hanson