a blessing for a new year at the start

You are not beholden to the last year passed.

You are not held hostage to what you did not do, did not feel, or did not hope for.

It has arrived: the clean slate for which you have been wishing, the answer to the prayer, the opportunity your spirit has been crying out for to be new again.

Disregard the cynical and the naysayers; the ones who will try to squash your hope and “naive” optimism for the year to come. What you choose to believe right now, in this moment at the start, will determine everything this next year will hold.

So choose wisely.

No, choose wildly. Choose insane, radical hope. Choose unabashed, unending joy. Choose Yes. Forget fear and give yourself grace for not meeting this goal or that before January 1 became real.

While you’re at it: forget anxiousness and nights riddled with worry; forget restlessness and passivity and not knowing what to do. Remove them from your conscience like a hat you can take off — set it aside, look to the Heavens, and ask for a better perspective to take its place.

Be done with it, that last year. You owe nothing to it, and you owe nothing to anyone who chooses to stay stuck inside of it, too.

Be awakened to possibility and grow deaf to skepticism. Take yesterday’s cuts and bruises and scars and thank them for what they’ve taught you but choose to walk into tomorrow unaffected by the desire to avoid similar pain.

Listen, I am talking to you: the one who felt defeated and beaten, who felt the burden of a terrible year and the pain of personal loss and the devastation of broken things and promises that weren't upheld. You, who wonders if God even listened last time or even cared, who felt isolated or lonely or nearly gave up...

Thank you for not giving up.

Thank you choosing to fill the you-shaped-hole God made on this earth — we need you. Take rest for just a moment and listen. Close your eyes and recall the image of a Great Cloud of Witnesses. Listen to what they’re saying, see how they cheer. You may have felt alone, but they were there all along and now, they celebrate how well you ran the race. You’re still here!

There is something on this earth waiting that only you can find; daily treasures, too, in other people that only you can pull out. There is a dream and a mandate only you can fulfill, some incredible, magical destiny that we will all be better from because you chose simply to be as you are, to say yes to what was impossible and to shake the dust of yesterday's untruths.

Listen: this is a year of victory. This is the year of You — whatever you need, whatever you lost, whatever you desire or have not even a mustard-seed-of-faith for — it is waiting for you just on the other side of January 1. You, who had been discouraged, lost hope, and faced fear — as you’ve been seeking, you’ve been sought. And this year, this year of your victory, of better-than and more-than-you-can-hope, it will be the thing that forever proves God’s faithfulness, His truth.

This year, the one you have dared to hope for even through great loss and despair, will be a collision of massive proportions. Not like a car wreck, no. Not like the past where there were injuries or trauma or disappointment and fear. This will be the collision of you and a God that is seeking you constantly, swiftly moving on your behalf, His love gaining traction and density as it propels through space coming straight for you —

Listen:

If you were thinking this year might be like the last, if you were ready to give up already or had no hope from the start — it’s coming for you. As you’ve been seeking, you’ve been sought.

Get ready. Look up. It starts.

a poem at winter's end

lessons in abundance