I woke up this morning. That’s a pretty big deal. Sometimes I can operate in a mode of unthankfulness, but today it was sharp in my mind that this day was a blessing. I texted out to a few buddies, wanting to share the hope of the new day but I felt like it would be good to spread that more.
A new day means another chance. Another chance to take the next right step. If I’m being honest, I’ve lived too much of life focusing on the problems at hand, too scared or too full of self pity to simply do the next right thing. Dreams aren’t realized in a day. And failures litter our yesterdays. But as believers, we don’t have to live from the identity of those failures.
2 Corinthians 4
13 Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke”, we also believe, and so we also speak, 14 knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. 15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. 16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self[c] is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.
2 Corinthians 5
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.[a] The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Today is a new day. You can grow in hope and live outside of your past fears, failures, and regrets. You can embrace the opportunity to love others courageously and speak with a boldness that comes from the identity of being beloved. You are new. Now let’s live that.
I’m sure that I’m not breaking news when saying that things don’t always go right. Dreams and plans may not be realized. Sometimes worse, they can be achieved only to have them crash down around us. While momentary pauses before success can make the victory feel that much sweeter, there are times where our loss feels unredeemable. The pain worse than any possible gain. So we hide. We don’t take ownership of our physical, emotional, and spiritual well being when speaking to those around us.
It’s amazing how unconnected we are as a society on any personal level. Want to see the proof of that? Ask the next ten people you meet how they’re doing. I’m betting chances are good that you’re getting nine or ten positive answers. Often people will reply positively before even taking the time to weigh the question.
That doesn’t scream speaking the truth in love to me. There are plenty of reasons to shy away from the truth when having a bad day. Fear of exposure, lack of intimacy, the desire to not burden another with your troubles. But love doesn’t work that way. It’s graceful in its intimacy. Forgetting the idea of dishonesty for a moment, I don’t think it’s a healthy thing for our own emotional well being.
When studying the Word, we see that there’s a season for everything. It doesn’t exclude the tough stuff. We’re to be thankful in all circumstances even when not thankful for them. Our journey with God doesn’t spare us pain but gives us the confidence to walk in faith through it. So it’s okay to acknowledge that stuff sucks sometimes. We don’t have to impress every detail on people, we can just be honest enough to say that it’s been a rough day and we could use some prayer. We can boldly go forward knowing that while the road is tough, we’re loved by a great God.
Essentially my entire childhood was spent in church. We went as a family and often. Religiously, if you’ll pardon the word choice. I remember watching X Files when I was young and then finding out I would be no longer able to watch it as it had switched to Sunday nights. I was devastated.
I remember trying to memorize the books of the bible better than the other kids to show off. I remember singing along to old hymns that I didn’t always understand. I remember wearing stuffy shirts that my mom thought I looked good in.
What I didn’t remember, was the time I was baptized. I have a faint memory if being downstairs of the church with my father, changing into the baptismal clothes. I’m really glad that I have that. With him passing fairly early on in my life, I’m thankful for anything I can connect back to that his love was on display. I don’t remember how old I was either. While I’m sure I was eager to have that day come, I was too young to have that choice be one that held any weight to me.
I wanted to step forward in my faith in a way that showed my personal decision. I wanted to do it for me. To make an intentional decision to put preferences aside. I didn’t want that nagging voice to keep up, questioning whether my original action was really volitional. My personal growth in the past year and a half has been leading here. I needed this. But I hope that as I share my story of God’s redeeming grace in my life, this day ends up being not just for me. That others can see a man who’s willing to tell Jesus yes. A man stuck after years of religion. A man who found himself deeply rooted in sin. A man extremely grateful to be loved.