if you’re anxious about the pressure of a new year

photo-1490839979032-803310bc5a2bI’m probably one of those people you hate being around on New Years. I freaking love it. I love the official end and beginning. I love celebrating the anniversary of my engagement to my husband. I love that we’re all letting go and starting over together.

I get it, though. I see all of the issues with New Years. There’s such tension. Set goals, except make them really realistic so you stick with them. But also make them big so that you don’t dream too small, right? And I’m going to take a wild guess at where you may be right now. You are hoping for December thirty-first to roll into January first with no fanfare, and no real attention. Because the thought of starting a new year feels so daunting and painful and…big.

How can you move into a new year when that person isn’t walking into it with you? How can you set goals for a better you when you are just trying to survive through the next ten minutes?

The truth sounds cheesy.  I almost hate to put it here. But if you’re feeling hopeless and darker than you wish you did, the truth is what it is.

Every day is a new day. 

This is way deeper than a cliche saying that you might buy on a sign. It’s straight from the hand of God in Lamentations 3.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
   they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.” 

This is why you can take a deep breath instead of holding it in when you wake up on the first day of the year. It’s another day. And so is January second. And February sixteenth. And May and July and November. Every single morning holds the same hope that you wish you had on the first day of a new year.

And the best part? There’s no pressure. There is no pressure for you to be something or someone that you have held up on a pedestal for so long. That person that you wish you could be? Those goals you wish you could stick with to become a “better person”? They don’t define you. Honestly. Going to the gym five days a week is important for your health, but your identity runs deeper than your discipline.

The person you wish you could be has already been defined and molded by a perfect God.

Can I tell you a secret? I think 2019 was my year. I just didn’t know it until it was over. I’m not sure how it happened. Was it counseling? Just growing up? Anti-depressants? Maybe. Jesus? Yes. Absolutely Jesus. It wasn’t all good. But I found so much freedom. Instead of planning out how I was going to be a better person in the coming three hundred and sixty-five days, I took every single moment as it came. Most of my energy was spent learning how that was even possible.

And throughout the days, I learned not to be okay. Like, really not okay. I learned to allow others not to be okay and let go of my need to be the one to make them whole. I let go of stuff and created space. I said no. I said yes. And I did it with intentionality. I let myself be present instead of clinging to the fear of missing out. Well, mostly. The process is never ending, people.

Let go of the way the world has convinced you that you have to grow. It’s not linear. It’s not big or small or anything that you can create yourself. Can I tell you something?

You don’t have to be better than you were yesterday. 

Don’t listen to them when they tell you to be a better you. Just be you. And if you have lost you, or even if you haven’t, let grace find you. As you worry about growing because everyone else around you seems to be, let this set you free:

It’s not the one who plants or the one who waters who is at the center of this process but God, who makes things grow.” [1 Corinthians 3:8]

Your growth is not your responsibility. If you’re going to grow, grow deep in grace. Grow in intimacy with the One who knows and loves you fully. God is the One who makes things grow.

This kind of growth can’t be measured or tracked. Don’t worry about what you’ll do this year. Or who you’ll be. Or what you won’t do. Choose Jesus today. Right now. He’s already chosen you. The version of you that you wish you weren’t. The parts of you that you wish weren’t a part of you. You are intentionally chosen, fully known and fully loved.

So if thinking about the next three hundred and sixty five days makes your throat close up, just stop. God’s mercy is enough for today. And His faithfulness is enough for tomorrow. And you don’t need to worry about anything further than that.

So January first? It’s just another day.

No pressure.

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