Reinvent Yourself for a New Start
- Tuesday, January 24, 2012
What is your overall feeling of this time of year? Do the sounds and lights of the season bring a smile to your face? Does the smell of wood-burning fires, fresh baked cookies and peppermint mochas conjure up certain memories for you?
For some, it means spending time with family and friends, attending parties, going on vacation and the expectation of a New Year. However for others, it is a reminder of financial struggles, the reality of resolutions (and dreams) gone by, another year without a “significant other,” and the same old obstacles and disappointments of the past.
How do I know that? I have been through and lived a gamut of “end of the year” feelings and expectations over the past few years.
One holiday season I was preparing to ask someone to marry me and another a couple of years later I was moving away from my home of sixteen years to a new state knowing next to no one—alone. I had the anticipation of a budding career one year to having no clear direction and without feelings of any purpose whatsoever the next. I have gone from having a stable job with all of the benefits to being unemployed and benefit-less all within a year.
If there is one thing I can always expect for my life, especially at the end of a year, it is the unexpected.
That’s why one of my favorite things to do toward the end of each year (and any other time I can work in) is to get my favorite hot beverage, a comfy chair with a great view and sit still. When I make that time, I can spend hours thinking, reminiscing and listening for God’s voice to give me some insight or word for me to grow on (or to share).
Recently, I felt as if God was telling me, “If you don’t like something about yourself, if you don’t like where you are, if you don’t like where you are going, ‘Reinvent yourself.’”
In this day and age where a cell phone lasts barely two years, a computer maybe four and relationships until the next negative “post,” we have to learn how to be flexible and be able to change, not only in our technology, but also in our lives.
It must have been so much easier and simpler in biblical times to live life and follow God, right?
Noah was a righteous man probably living a fairly uncomplicated life with his three sons and their wives, until God spoke to him.
God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah, "I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out (Genesis 6:12-14).
Finding favor in God’s eyes, Noah was warned to “reinvent himself” as a shipbuilder even though it went against popular opinion.
Moses lived in the lap of luxury in the palace of the Pharaoh as one of his own sons. That was until he saw how one of his fellow Israelites was being mistreated and killed an Egyptian over it. Moses fled to the desert and as he was tending sheep, the Lord appeared to him in a burning bush.
The cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt (Exodus 3:9-10).
Despite his reluctance, Moses was told to “reinvent himself” to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.
In the midst of an Israelite nation doing evil in the eyes of the Lord, Gideon was minding his father’s business threshing wheat in a winepress trying to live a righteous life when he was approached.
When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior (Judges 6:12).
Even though Gideon was the “least” in his family in the weakest clan in Manasseh, he was told to “reinvent himself” as the leader to save Israel.
Saul’s original calling in life was to arrest and persecute all who called upon Jesus’ name, and it was a “successful” career for him. However, in a flash of a light (literally), everything he had known changed.
He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" "Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked. "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied. "Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do" (Acts 9:4-6).
Saul’s life was drastically “reinvented” to live for the Lord rather than against him.
Have you had one of those moments where the Lord has “called” you to a new place? Has the Holy Spirit been urging you to “reinvent yourself” in a fresh way for a new purpose, but you have pushed it aside or disregarded it?
Don’t let yourself off so effortlessly and think of this uneasiness as just the “end of the year blues.” Overlooking these feelings as something that just “happens” every year is a waste of an opportunity to challenge and discover something new about yourself or to change something (or everything), you have ever known.
Since my last “end of the year,” I started taking classes in a whole new career direction, challenged myself physically to accomplish some new goals, pushed myself to reach out in new ways to others and have a genuine excitement for what the New Year holds even though I still have no “other” and many of the same struggles in my life.
Make this New Year better than years past with a new start by reinventing yourself!
Cliff Young is a contributing writer to Sandlot Stories (ARose Books), as well as the monthly column, "He Said-She Said," in Crosswalk.com's Singles Channel. An architect and former youth worker, he now works with Christian musicians and consults for a number of Christian ministries. Got feedback? Send your comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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