Happy and Hope-filled New Years 2021

by Pam Nettles, LCMHC

As I awake this morning, it is now New Year’s Day 2021. I look out my window and it is dreary and rainy; I don’t see the beautiful colors of the sunrises I’ve seen in the last several weeks. I am reminded that I, like many others, wanted to say good riddance to 2020, welcome the new year with a fresh sense of hope, but the turn of the calendar hasn’t automatically changed the circumstances.  While the circumstances might not change, I can change the manner in which I view them.  I can look back on 2020 and remember the scary, unprecedented events of the year; or, I can look for the blessings and/or the growth I’ve made.  

Simply put, I can look at this morning as a dreary, rainy day that has spoiled my plans to go outside and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air; or, I can view this morning as a relaxing, quiet morning in which I slept later than usual and woke to the comforting sound of the gentle pitter patter of rain.  I can enjoy the brilliance of the Christmas lights I still have decorating my house (no judgement please, lol).  I can look at the holiday season and wallow in sadness that my entire family made the difficult decision not to be together; or, I can be thankful that my family is healthy and we’ve enjoyed many phone calls, exchanged texts with funny memes and prayer requests, and gathered together via Zoom.

I can look at 2020 and all the problems many have experienced (Covid-19, political and civil unrest, financial and health issues) with despair, fear and anxiety; or, I can view it as a time when I’ve had to wrestle with the fact that ultimately, I am making the choice to rest in God’s promises and blessings; He is good, sovereign and my sole security despite the circumstances.  I am learning to give up my plans, and choosing to be flexible and resilient; to be open to the opportunities God is giving me each day.

So, in 2021, you also can choose to reframe your view of difficult circumstances. As scripture says,  “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18-19, New International Version)

Maybe the new thing is reaching out to others who are hurting with a card, meal, or even sending an encouraging text and truly committing to pray for them.  Maybe the new thing is praying for our leaders, that God would give them wisdom and discernment, even if you don’t agree with their platforms. Maybe the new thing is choosing to forgive someone who has hurt you deeply, rather than holding on to bitterness and resentment.  Maybe the new thing is identifying a scripture, biblical promise or word that you use to anchor your thoughts and decisions this upcoming year.  Maybe the new thing is allowing God to stir your heart and mind; to be open to growth, change and new possibilities.

In 2021, I pray that  God would soften your heart and mine; we will look for the opportunity for revival rather than despair; that you and I, can be salt and light in a season of darkness for our world.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me- put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9, NIV)

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NIV)

“You are the salt of the earth.   But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?  It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.  You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it give light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16, NIV)

“People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument.  Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath.  God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged.  We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.  He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 6:16-19, NIV)

Pam Nettles, LCMHC