I always feel like the New Year is filled with promise. I usually spend the first few weeks of January with big hopes for the year ahead. Most years those hopes manifest in the idea of “new year, new me.” I make resolutions that I will get up earlier, go to the gym more often, spend more time with my family, be more productive. The reality of change, at least for me, and maybe for you, is that it is difficult. When I fail it feels disheartening and often I simply choose to forgo change all together.
There is something in me that yearns for change. I see the things around me and the things about me that I want to be different and I imagine what life could be like. There are days that I look in the mirror and see all the things I wish I could change about myself. I spend some days berating myself: “why can’t you just do better? Why is it so hard for you to change?”
As a life long perfectionist I have made an art out of being hard on myself. As a counselor, and a person with a desire to be emotionally healthy, I have spent a long time working towards being kind to myself and showing myself grace. However, if I am not cautious, my desire to be perfect quickly seeps into my relationship with God. The criticisms that sometimes echo in my head can start to sound an awful lot like they are coming from my Creator. “God doesn’t want to hear from you today. You didn’t say a word to him yesterday. Maybe when you’re better at reading your Bible you can come to God. Maybe when you change he will be ready to hear from you.”
What toxic things to think about our God! A God who loves the unlovable and who has a heart for the broken. Our God does not ask us to change before we can come to him. But how familiar those thoughts can become for those of us who do not feel worthy to come before our Creator.
One of the verses that carries me through those thoughts and frees me from those false expectations is Lamentations 3:22-23:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
There are days when I am discouraged with myself. When that feeling of “I’m not enough” resonates in everything I do. What a wonderful God we have who reminds us that his steadfast love never ceases! His mercies never come to an end.
Every morning that you open your eyes to the blaring sound of your alarm, perhaps with dread for the day to come, with thoughts of being imperfect, the Lord has new mercies prepared for you. He does not ask that we are perfect before we come to him. His love is steadfast, unceasing, replenished and faithful. Come to him today, just as you are, and let his steadfast love wash over you.