“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new”. – Socrates
A “fresh start” can be when someone is moving to a new state, starting a new job or even forming new relationship maybe. I really feel it can be all of the above and then some. A fresh start is really anytime you do something new or something that requires change in your life. Change can be tough for a lot of us, and a tad scary too. And for some, change can feel almost impossible to accomplish. Some would even go as far to say it’s plain out overwhelming!
I really think those feelings of fear, doubt, or frustration have to do with a couple different things. Things like not trusting in our ability to change (or His ability to change us), feeling that we are undeserving of change or maybe you’ve even attempted change before and got nowhere fast so you just gave up. A lot can factor into our emotions and if we aren’t careful, those emotions can and will keep us from our fresh start. Jesus offers new life through a relationship with Him, and it’s a wonderful way to have a life full of love, grace and hope. A hope that only He can give. I think there are some very practical ways we can start to make changes in our everyday lives to help us either begin to follow Him or become better followers of Him. Sometimes, that fresh start requires hitting rock bottom. But I will say, hitting rock bottom allowed me to discover a solid foundation on which I have now rebuilt my life.
Isaiah 41:10 says, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand”, yet how many of us still fear change? He tells us many times throughout scripture to fear not but if we are all honest, we still have times we fear the unknown, the things we can’t control, the future even. But why? Why do we struggle with fear when He clearly tells us not to. It’s because we are human. We aren’t perfect. If we were, then we wouldn’t need Him. As we grow in our relationship, that fear begins to dissipate and we begin to understand that as long as we are grounded in Him, we really don’t need to fear the unknown. And, another thing is this; If we are completely honest, what we really fear is that our past will repeat itself and that is what haunts us. Stop letting that control you!
What would you do if you weren’t afraid? Do you think the fear of failure keeps you from stepping out and making a change? Have you ever asked yourself those questions? There have been many times I have attempted change and fell flat on my face. I Failed, miserably! But you know what I learned? All failure is, is an opportunity to try again but this time with a little more intellect. Instead of seeing it as a failed attempt, look at it as an opportunity to rebuild what you really want! Sometimes what feels like a break down, is actually just you breaking free. And besides, why fear the future when you know God is there waiting, pursuing you, showing you His goodness and unfailing love!
Ability to Change
I think often times we get so focused on what we think we can’t do, we forget about all that we actually can do. We are guilty of putting limitations on ourselves when we don’t feel brave or strong enough to see something through to completion. Change is very possible! And often times very helpful. Sometimes though, that will require letting go of the things we are clinging to. At times, we even have to start over completely. Maybe because you’ve outgrown something or maybe it was all together wrong for you in the first place. Either way, there are times you have to give up your life as you know it to get the new one you are looking for. The one God intends you to live. And you know what the best part about it is? Every morning you have a new opportunity to become a happier, better version of yourself.
Dreams, prayers and grace don’t have an expiration date. Today is a great day to refocus on what you have the ability to change and what’s in your control. God has given us an open line of communication with Him through the spirit. You have the ability to pray earnestly to Him and to ask Him anything. So whatever it is you are struggling to change, talk to Him about it! Stop letting it hold you down. It’s time to remember what it feels like to be alive! To be happy! When I am finally able to understand that everything happening in my life (even the things I think are out of control) is only meant to draw me closer to Christ, it resolves a lot of anxiety. Why? Because when I know I can’t handle something, I take it to Him in prayer because I know He can and will help me see it through. And how awesome and satisfying it is to turn from our limitations to a God who doesn’t have any. So let go. It creates space for better things to enter into your life. Things that He intends to bless you with.
Making the Change
Change doesn’t happen over night! And often times we allow our own issues to stand in the way of making change happen. We have to be willing to say, Yes! I am ready for a fresh start no matter how tough it may seem. No matter how many times I have to pick myself up and start again. Jesus doesn’t expect us to figure it all out in one day, and He most definitely doesn’t expect us to do it alone. But no one can make the choice for you. You have to be willing to step out and just trust that what’s ahead is so much better than what’s behind.
There will be days you feel like it’s just too hard. That you just can’t stop that one thing He is asking you to leave behind. Or maybe you just can’t forgive that one person. Stop limiting God! Every time you say you can’t do something you are limiting what He is given you the power to accomplish. Be patient with yourself. Nothing God has said will come to pass ever fails. And He is at work in your life, helping you make the change, giving you a fresh start. Trust in His timing.
Change is tough. I won’t down play that at all. But, change is also very necessary. Without it, we can never become who we are intended to be. And your life will only change when you are more committed to becoming that person than you are to remaining in your comfort zone. I will say a fresh start can often be disguised as a painful ending, but don’t let that be the reason you fear change. Sometimes in order to discover who you are meant to be, you have to lose everything you thought you should be.
Lamentations 3:23 says, “Great is His faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning”. Hold tight to that truth. Just because today was a bad day doesn’t mean tomorrow won’t be the best day of your life. You just have to get there. And on those days when things don’t seem to go right no matter how hard you try, still end your day with a positive thought. No matter how hard things were, tomorrow’s a fresh opportunity to make it better. And I pray that these next few months are a period of magnificent transformation for you and for me as well. Keep dreaming your dreams. Then ask God to shape them, scrub them, and focus them towards His glory!
Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
May your gracious Spirit lead me forward
on a firm footing.