new years, star wars, and jean valjean :: best top ten list ever?

December 31, 2009

Last night I read a tweet that made me laugh out loud.  The basic jist (gist?) was this… “I don’t make New Years resolutions because I’m already really good at failure.”

Nice.  I can relate.  And so can you, by the way.  Who hasn’t blown it?  Repeatedly?  Well, we’re in good company – among friends here.  Good times.  It seems clear to me that to post today about my great intentions for the coming year may only serve to put highlighter all over my weakness.  So the “Top Ten Resolutions for 2010” option is out the window.

But I find it fascinating, as a new-to-the-scene blogger this year, to see how other writers are handling the turning of the decade.  I guess I’m supposed to be posting top ten lists of the best this and the worst that…   And unquestionably, I need to post my “Best Posts of the Year” or “Most Controversial Posts of…” or “Top Ten Favorite Posts From Me About…” or “Ten Most Beloved Posts I Wrote Concerning the Parallels Between French Literature of the Late 1800’s and Modern Era Science Fiction.”  Um… no.  Not today.

Truth is, I just have one thought worth sharing as I’m staring down a New Year.  It may not whack you in the face like it has me this year, but to me, this one thought has made all the difference.

I get a fresh start.

That’s it.  My “Top Ten” list has one bullet point.  A fresh start.  I don’t even care if I’m playing psychological head games with myself.  Tomorrow is, in reality, going to be exactly the same as today.  BUT… it will be a new year.  A new decade.  A fresh start.  A clean slate.  “A New Hope.” (You’ve all been waiting with baited breath for the Star Wars reference, right?  Good times.)

Am I looking back on 2009 with loads of regret and a past I’d like to forget?  No way.  I love my life, and I’m grateful for the work God has already done in and through me.  But I’ve got many places in my life – in my heart – that need to grow up.  I want to be a better man.  And the good news is two-fold:  because of Jesus I CAN be a better man, -and- I’ll never “arrive…”  So I always have a new hope to look forward to.  I always have a better tomorrow on my horizon.

My soul has been bought for God.  He’s in charge.  When I think about this next year, I see failure coming my way.  Like it does every year, in  a hundred ways.  But I also see victories.  Victories coming one after another, like they do every year, in  a hundred ways.  I’m at peace in the tension of growing up.  God is my shepherd.  His joy is my strength.

When you begin the new year, you may want to write down a list of resolutions.  That may work for you.  Or you may throw that list quietly away while no one is watching round about January 13th.  Either way, don’t miss the significance of a new start.  Whatever your past, Jesus offers a new hope for you.  He calls us “a new creation.”  He removes our sin from us “as far as the east is from the west.”  I believe in my clean slate – and in my promised fresh start – with as much faith as I believe the sun will come up tomorrow. (And if you just pictured a short, brash but endearing redhead singing platitudes about the rising sun, I apologize…)

In 2010, I will be a better man.  Jesus, help me out.  I’ll be a better man.  But I’m not telling you how.  No top-ten resolutions list for me, thanks.  That’s for me to know, to list my goals in private, and to sheepishly chuck into the recycling bin mid-January.  Ahhh… Thank you Lord, for grace.

What does the coming New Year really mean for your life?


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Psalm 24:7 & Luke 10:42 >> Like David, and Mary, I'm in pursuit of my one thing. I'm the Pastor at St. Olaf Lutheran Church in Montgomery, IL. Pastor, teacher, writer, communicator, designer, and drummer. I definitely got the better deal in my marriage to Amy. And I couldn't be any more proud of my five amazing boys. Deeply grateful.