December 30, 2009

Out With the Old -- In With the New

Happy New Year! We survived our drive from PA to FL and are enjoying a wonderful visit with family. I wish you a blessed New Year and pray that in 2010 you go deeper still in your experiences with our awesome God.
I posted over at Exemplify Online today. I hope you click over the check it out.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Get fit. Lose weight. Enjoy life more. Quit smoking. Get organized. Learn something new. Spend more time with family. Help others.

New Year’s resolutions. We make them. We break them. And in a few months we forget all about them. But two years ago I made a resolution I not only kept, it changed my life. On December 31, 2007, I gave my writing to God and promised Him I’d stop talking about writing and actually start doing it. Since then I’ve written over 100,000 words on my blog, attended writers’ conferences, published articles and made wonderful friendships with fellow writers.

Along the way, I’ve battled doubt, discouragement and insecurity. Yet each time I felt like giving up, I recalled my divine promise and asked the Lord for strength and reassurance to press on. With His help, I have…and do. 

As writing brought me into a deeper understanding of God, He challenged me to go further still. So last year I resolved to follow the Lord as He led, and to that end I prayed, “Empty me, fill me, use me.” Looking back on 2009, I am awed at the concrete evidence of God’s answer to my prayer. The year was filled with a whole new set of “firsts.” Some wonderfully rewarding (like our mission trip to the Dominican Republic), others incredibly scary (like sharing my testimony from that trip at church) and others painfully sad (like the passing of our dear friend Kirsten). But in each, I experienced the Almighty in intense and profoundly personal ways.

I share these things not to boast about me, but to boast about our Lord. Christianity is not an attractive accessory with which we decorate our lives. Jesus is the real deal. He has the power to transform our lives in ways we—and our me-focused resolutions—NEVER can. The Bible promises that when we align our desires with His will, there’s no limit to power of the Spirit working in and through us.

However, while I can point to evidence of the “new” in my life, I’m often frustrated with how much of the “old” remains. Paul's words in 2 Corinthians make the process seem immediate and complete. Have I failed because I still have far to go? I choose to read the verse as an ongoing promise—“the old is going, the new is coming.”

Transformation is a process—sometimes dramatic and other times painfully slow. It’s not so important how fast we transform, but that we continue to do so. Step by step. Year after year. “Let the wonderful kindness and the understanding that come from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ help you to keep on growing.” (2 Peter 3:18, emphasis mine).

There’s nothing magical about January 1 as a time to evaluate and start anew, except that it marks a logical rest area on our journey. Spiritual change is more than a list of New Year’s resolutions. It requires perseverance, patience and participation. We’ve got to roll up our sleeves and get involved in the process. He directs; we follow. We take down; He builds up. We empty; He fills.

Do you want a faith that’s alive and active? Are you tired of the “old” and want to usher in the “new?” Do you want your life to be about more than yourself?

Reflect on the year. Can you point to evidence of God working in and through you? What’s holding you back from taking the next step…or taking any step? Do you want to go deeper in your experience with the Almighty?

Why not start the New Year, focused not on how YOU want to change, but on how HE wants to change you. Pray for direction. Resolve to follow. And prepare for 2010 to be a year unlike any other.


Cheryl Barker said...

Happy New Year to you, Kelli! Enjoy your time with family, and may God bless you richly in the coming year!

Anonymous said...

Happu New Year! Thanks for your blog. I love it. God is so faithful. My blog belongs to God, too. I'm waiting for Him to bless it.

Ginny said...

Oops, pushed the button too soon. Love your blog! Happy New Year. I'm the Anonymous above.Ginny

Jennifer said...

Thank you for encouraging us to continue to write for Jesus.

Happy New Year!

Sue J. said...

I find myself taking these first steps into January as if they are just another day, and I'm not upset by that at all! Even though so much of my life (i.e., kids' stuff) revolves around the calendar, I am not running my life by the calendar. Thank You, Lord, for freeing me of this encumbrance! (Although I still have to keep lists for memory-improvement's sake!)

I love how you focused on the -ing! We set ourselves up for failure too many times when we put our earthly limits on things. God has DAILY plans for us, even as He has long-range plans. The question is, who's plans will will see and follow?

As you were in FL, we were in NJ! Thought of you on the NJ Turnpike as you thought of us on I-95!!

Happy New Year-ing!! Wii-loved your card, by the way....

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Kelli, I'm heading over to finish reading this article. Sounds like just what I need in my time of uncertainty.

Kelly Combs said...

I love your focus this year! I need to do that. I was focused on my failed resolutions of last year. Perhaps I need to see what God resolves for me to do...and do it!