All you need to know about New Years.

I won't hide it, I'm a New Years nut. I like it more than Easter (which is saying something) and definitely more than my birthday (because it's for everyone). I'm writing this post a week before January 1st and I've already got all my new paraphernalia. Goal planning worksheets, a total of seven new notebooks (they all have a purpose!), a new water bottle, and four fresh bottles of vitamins. I buy into the hype, I plan my little soul out, I pick a verse for the year and everything. The way I cast vision for the year has changed - it used to involve hyper-planning and scheduling and now I've learned that really honing in on the end result that I'm desiring works best. I plan out some intentional action steps to get there, with some measurable benchmarks along the way, but the fun part - it's thinking about the end result. I won't hide it from you or shy away. At the end of 2014, I do want to be different. Even a better version of myself. I want to be more well-rested, have a more balanced schedule. I want to be a more-bendy-healthy-wild-and-free me. I want to grow. 

Do you feel it in you? Do you read about it or hear it from the more negative people in your life? That inconsiderate and unloving voice that says it's silly to set goals, it's dumb to believe that a new year will all of a sudden make you consistent and amazing? If you couldn't do it in November, what makes you think you can do it January? As Christians, should we even be trying to get better anyhow? Shouldn't we just be grateful for who we are and what we have and leave it at that? 

I believe we have confused contentment with complacency. I believe we can redeem the hype of the calendar and let the Holy Spirit capitalize on the very real shift that happens when the last day of December turns into the first day of January. I believe in fresh starts because I believe in grace. Grace that picks us up in March when we've screwed it all up and the exact same grace that nudges us at the end of December and says, "Maybe... just maybe you could try something new? Because what if it DOES work this time?" I believe in the grace that catches us and the graces that spurs us, and I believe it all comes from Jesus. 

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 has been my battle cry for a few years now. Occasionally it grows stale for me and doesn't seem as powerful, and in those moments - I fear I'm usually relying far too heavily on my own strength. 

"'But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 

You see? It's not that it's January first and you'll suddenly be perfect. The fact is that the year is new and the rest of the world is on the same page of grace that we get to live in constantly. Next Tuesday and that random Thursday in September when you have an awful day, this grace is here for you, to meet your eternal and daily needs when even you just can't do it. The grace will be there and will turn your feeble efforts into strong Christ-infused movements of God in your home and community. No matter the day, we can boast in our weaknesses and walk in contentment because He is strong within us and around us. 

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But today? Everyone is on the same page. Today, everyone is seeing the grace and the fresh start. And we can lead the charge today because as women of God, we can bring the grace in the days to come. We can speak as hopefully and encouragingly to ourselves and our people today as we can six months from now. 

That grace is ready to catch you like a net when you fall off the wagon or lose sight of the goals and that same grace is whispering to you this morning, "Try. Why not just try? If you know you don't have to be perfect, if you know your weaknesses are purposeful and perfected - just try." Turn off the negative voices (especially if they're your own) that tell you it will never get any better. Buy the fresh notebooks and write down the goals. Reread this post when you need pick-me-up in March or October, or maybe even write a note to yourself to remember how you felt today. If Christ is in you, your weaknesses are being made perfect, and you are strong. 
You get to lead the charge today. 
This is your fresh start.