Okay confession, last year was the first time I had ever heard the phrase new year, new you…and I definitely embraced it with lofty plans for 2016.
Day one, great.
Day two, a moldy apartment that took two months to straighten out [Link in here to mold blog].
This year I decided I would redeem the horrible start to the last year.
Day one, great.
Day two, a severe allergic reaction to some new face cream. I’m talking swollen, red, bumpy skin that I’m still taking a ton of prescriptions for. Ugh.
As I’ve been reflecting on these two icky starts to the last couple of years, I’ve been realizing my heart’s tendency toward self-reliance. Instead of turning to God, I look to myself to start fresh and make things better and new. But by turning to myself, I’m denying my need for him and falsely believing I have control over my world.
However, I’ve been reading a lot about what God spoke to the Israelites through the prophet Isaiah, and it’s been so sweet. The Israelites constantly are forgetting the wonders God performed to demonstrate his love, and the promises he made to give them an abundantly good future. Their efforts only lead them further and further from him, and no matter how hard they try they can’t make things right again.
It’s definitely been frustrating to start off the new year with my plans interrupted, but God’s been using his words in Isaiah to show me that fresh starts don’t come from our plans – they come from him. Whether your new year’s resolutions are already in shambles, or you’re still going strong, God’s invitation to renewal in these words from Isaiah 30 is for you:
“Ah, stubborn children,” declares the Lord,
“who carry out a plan, but not mine,
and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit,
that they may add sin to sin…”
For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,
“In returning and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
But you were unwilling, and you said,
“No! We will flee upon horses”;
therefore you shall flee away;
and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”;
therefore your pursuers shall be swift.
A thousand shall flee at the threat of one;
at the threat of five you shall flee,
till you are left
like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain,
like a signal on a hill.
Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you,
and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
blessed are all those who wait for him.
For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.