A New Year, A New Start?
So many people look forward to the opportunity of beginning again. Starting over. In fact the desire to start over at this time of year is referred to as New Year’s Resolutions. We prepare checklists of things we are going to implement when the calendar roles from December 31 to January 1. A new beginning. An opportunity to start fresh. We determine in our minds that this is going to be the year. Our year. This is going to be the time to accomplish what I wasn’t able to prior.
The challenge to this fresh start is that very few people are actually able to stick with their resolutions. The “fresh start,” doesn't’ prove to be so beneficial over the long haul. According to an article on forbes.com, only 8% of people are successful in sticking to what they set out to do. (To reference the article, click here)
While I am sure there are many reasons for this, one of the major ones for me is that we weren’t created to go at things a year at a time. It’s simply too long. For some their shear willpower can prove to be enough to keep them going for a little while, but when the willpower runs low and the results don’t meet expectations, the temptation is to give up. To quit.
What a discouraging feeling!
However instead of waiting for the new year to begin again, and going through the same cycle, what if we looked for more opportunities for fresh starts? More opportunities to begin again?
This past Saturday here at Crowley SDA we celebrated our quarterly communion service. For us this was a fresh start. Why? We believe what the Bible in Psalm 51:7 says, “Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” — A fresh start.
In preparation for communion we encourage our members to spend time in self-examination, repentance, and confession. Similar to the resolutions check list, we believe that if we are intentional with connecting with one another and with the Biblical instructions for communion, we have the ability to begin again. To make our relationships with others and with God correct. An opportunity for a fresh start. We leave from our communion service being right with God and right with one another.
A great feeling.
However that is still typically only celebrated 4 times a year. Could it be that we need more opportunities than that for a fresh start?
As Seventh-day Adventist Christians we believe we have the ability to start anew each week. Built into the very fabric of how time is structured God instituted a fresh start. I am referring to the last day of the week, Saturday. Saturday is the day that the Lord rested from His work of creation and blessed that day, referring to it as Sabbath. (Genesis 2:1-3)
The Sabbath marks an end to the week and gives us dedicated time to focus on things that are truly important. With intentionality, we can experience a fresh start each week. The Sabbath is a time of celebrating God’s creative acts both at the beginning and continuing through His redemptive actions today. A day to reflect on what God has accomplished in our lives over the past 6 days. One of my favorite questions to consider during Sabbath is, “How have I seen God working in my life this past week?” How have you? As I answer that question, I find that the problems I had dealt with throughout the week don’t seem as big. The obstacles that are before me, don’t seem as daunting.
As I reflect each Sabbath on who God is and His awesome power working in my life, I am energized to start a new week. Each Sabbath I get a fresh beginning to experience His blessings in my life and look for ways to be a blessing to others.
This year, make your new start not about a list of resolutions, but about committing to an experience of new beginnings each week. A weekly fresh start. Spend time this coming Sabbath reflecting on how much God has blessed you. As you do, may you experience that fresh start that He longs to give you each week. Don't wait, commit to weekly fresh starts.
For further reading, check out the following Scriptures; Gen. 2:1-3; Exod. 20:8-11; 31:13-17; Lev. 23:32; Deut. 5:12-15; Isa. 56:5, 6; 58:13, 14; Ezek. 20:12, 20; Matt. 12:1-12; Mark 1:32; Luke 4:16; Heb. 4:1-11.