It’s About to Flip
by C.A. Phillips
The end of the calendar year is sort of peculiar, isn’t it? It seems for 365 days we are moving along a finite timeline from left to right, and once we reach the end, we flip the page and do it all over again. It’s a given – January is the beginning, and December is the end. That’s the way we’ve been taught our entire lives.
I have begun to see things a bit differently, however. I don’t really see an “end” to every year. I mean, yeah, certainly the date and calendar year change, but December 31 really isn’t the end of anything. Well, except December. Instead, I have begun to see December as just a colder month that happens to include Christmas and some mostly insignificant college football bowl games (I still watch them).
I think the inventor of the New Year’s Resolution did a great PR and marketing job in convincing all of us that January 1 should signify or serve as a marker for change and newness. But, it’s the coldest time of the year. It’s dreary outside – unless you live in Key West or San Diego. There’s just nothing new or particularly exciting about January. We’ve been sold a bill of goods.
I think because we’ve all been gluttons and overspent on Christmas that we look to January as a way to “fix” ourselves. We say, “I can just start over in January and do better. I’ll lose weight. I’ll eat better. I’ll join the gym. I’ll set a budget. I’ll get things right.” But, the stats are daunting: studies show that only 14 percent of people over the age of 50 actually achieve their resolutions, with those in their 20’s faring the best at 39 percent. More sobering is that nearly 40 percent of all people ditch their resolutions by Valentine’s Day.
So, back to this idea of turning the page or starting fresh. I like to think that I have an opportunity every day to start fresh, to be better. Sure, it takes more than just thinking it for it to happen. I have to actually DO something different for there to be change in my life – or in others’. Just wanting it to happen isn’t enough.
You may be in a season where you sense God is up to something, but you can’t even articulate what it is, and you don’t know how express the words or know what to pray or how to pray. I’ve actually been there for quite some time. Take heart and receive comfort from Paul’s words:
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. Romans 8:26 (NLT)
You want to make a change? Need a fresh start? Looking for direction, but can’t express to God exactly how you feel? Paul tells us that it’s OK! The Holy Spirit, who dwells within us if we follow Jesus, is already working on our behalf, and is praying for us! Incredible!
I know we’re only a few days away from January 1. But, you don’t need to wait until the New Year to live with purpose. Start today, right where you are, and with whatever it is you have – or don’t have. Don’t let your weakness stop you. Instead, turn your inadequacies and deficiencies over to the Lord, and allow Him to begin a new work within you!
Happy New Year, and thank you for making this a great first year for the “Over the Hump” devotional!
C.A. Phillips is a lifelong sports enthusiast and youth baseball coach, and currently serves as the Communications Pastor and Director of Men’s Groups at NorthStar Church in Kennesaw, Ga. He lives in Kennesaw with his wife, Amy, and his two sons, Chaz and Chandler.
Imagine that you could sit down and pick the brains of some of the top leaders in the country! That’s the premise behind the Linch with a Leader podcast. Learn how these leaders – all among the best in their respective field – have risen to the top, while continuing to grow spiritually and chase after the Lord.