“Remember my affliction and roaming, the wormwood and the gall (the bitterness.)

My soul still remembers and sinks within me.

This I recall to my mind; therefore, I have hope.

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.

They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:19-23)

The second week in January is typically when I start to reflect on the year that has past, and the potential of the new year ahead.  All the busyness of November and December- finals, trips, holidays, being more social than normal- it’s all died down and the dust has settled.  The first week of the year is always a wash for me.  I’m physically recuperating and pretty much wrecked.  The second week is when I take the time to think, because thinking is hard work.

I’ve lived enough years to know that if I wait and take purposeful time to reflect on the past and what I hope lies ahead, I’m more likely to follow through.  Starting things is hard, but it’s a whole lot easier than actually finishing them!  I’d wager that some of you reading this already feel like you’ve failed because your New Year’s resolutions have already gone by the wayside.  I hate resolutions.  I’m not a big fan of lists of goals either.  You can’t be good at everything.   In Jon Acuff’s latest book he says that in order to do something well (which is in my opinion the only way worth doing anything anyway) you need to give yourself permission to suck at some less-important things.   The beauty of this is that we get to choose what we do well, and what we’re going to be just okay at.

My life has always followed this pattern whether I realized it or not.   I do some things really well for a time, and other things naturally have to fall aside to the “just getting by” pile.  Instead of allowing myself the freedom to be bad at some things, I loaded guilt on myself for not being the best at everything all the time.   Thank the Lord I’ve learned better!  Being a “non-traditional” (aka. adult/older) college student has taught me this lesson.  Last semester housekeeping was what I chose to let go of.  I may have a 4.0, but my house was dusty all the time and I only cooked about twice a week, and I didn’t feel guilty about it.  Most of the time.  I still have to fight off the guilt because I naturally gravitate toward perfectionism, but the difference is, I fight it.  I don’t give in to it and let it rule my life.

This morning those verses in Lamentations were what kept coming to my mind.  God’s mercy is new every day.  He has new compassion on us every morning, and it stays with us all day without waning.  It’s as strong towards us when we end our day, as when we began it.   When a new calendar year rolls around, it is a good time to take stock of our lives and reflect, but a better thing would be to live each day as if it were a new beginning.  Because it is.  Don’t wait until next week, or next month, or next year to start something.  I’m not saying to jump into things blindly.  I’m saying count up the cost, take stock of where you are and where you want to be, and then start with one thing that can get you there.  It’s how I’m working my way towards a college degree at this stage in my life.   It’s how I lost, and have kept off fifty pounds and many inches, and gained back my health.  It’s how I will get through this year with my sanity in place.  Seemingly small and incidental changes made consistently over time, turn into huge, life altering transformations that can change the trajectory of a life.  Where do you need to apply His mercy today?