If I had to rank my favorite holidays in order, New Years Eve might not even make the list. Too often I have found myself in a melancholy mood, mulling over the past twelve months, wishing for more and better and easier to be found within them. Too often I have found myself in what feels like the same place I was at the start.
Which is why, at the beginning of last year, I turned to Isaiah 43:19—
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
Wilderness and desert were apt descriptions of this season. I was desperate for the new, desperate to see this verse lived out in my life, but feared the unknown of what it might look like. Even so, I invited God into the process, asking for my eyes to be opened to all the work that He was doing.
One year later, I am still reeling from the change He brought. It was less of a rushing wave and more of a constant wind steadily that eroded all the walls I had built around my heart. I didn’t even know I created defenses that now blocked the change I desperately desired. In the process of tearing these down, I learned three key truths to help me fully embrace the new.
First, I had to accept the fact that new can be hard—hard enough that I often choose to stay in my present condition, however damaging, because it is a familiar sort of pain. I knew it wasn’t where I wanted to be, but I had known what to expect. I learned that new can be hard, and I learned that I could move through it.
The Lord also taught me that space had to be created in order to usher in the new. I had to bid farewell to the old—old habits, thought patterns, and identities. This process took time, and I sought counseling to further accelerate the growth. I wish I could say this part was quick and easy, but I can say with 100% certainty that it was worth every moment.
Finally, I gained a deeper understanding of who God is, and how He moves in moments like these. More specifically, I learned that God is in the business of the New. Though we may not be of Israel, He provided a new covenant that we all could take part in. Though we sin time and time again, He provides new mercies every morning. Though the world may be broken and the future may seem bleak, He declares He will make all things new. This is the Gospel, a promise of renewal and transformation, as true today as it was two thousand years ago.
In living out this truth, there is always an opportunity to turn a new page, start a new chapter. We can let go of all fear of the unknown. With our Loving Father walking with us every step of the way, we can boldly move forward, already celebrating all that He will accomplish through whatever new adventures await.
I find baking to be a total confidence boost, because it can be pretty easy to make something delicious! These Macadamia and Coconut Chocolate Chip cookies are sure to put you in a good mood, ready to embrace whatever the new may bring!
2 cups + 2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cups melted butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup macadamia nuts, quartered
Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt, and set aside. Cream the butter and sugars, then beat in the eggs and vanilla until smooth. Mix in the dry ingredients, then stir in the chocolate chips, coconut, and macadamia nuts. Wrap and chill in fridge for at least one hour. Remove and preheat oven to 325. Scoop onto parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until they are just starting to brown. Allow ten minutes to cool.
“White Owl” (https://goo.gl/aQa1JX) by Josh Garrels seamlessly blends both melancholy and hope, painting a picture of facing down the road ahead.
Father, I thank you for your love, ever present.
Open my eyes to see the infinite ways You display it.
I thank you for your provision, ever present.
Grow my trust with every new step I take.
I thank you for your Spirit, ever present.
Guide my steps as I venture on, keeping my focus on you.
Carve out some time to get alone, away from all the noise and distraction, and reflect on whether there is enough space in your life for God to bring something new. Have you been clinging to the old? What has been hindering you from the new? Invite the Lord to provide insight and action.