To Those of Us Who’d Like a Fresh Start

imagesCABXM5D0It’s hard to believe summer is almost over.  When I was a teacher I always loved this time of year—unlocking the door to an empty classroom and starting all over.  Stapling up bulletin board paper, organizing my desk, filling out a brand new grade book with brand new names and dreaming big dreams for a brand new year.

This summer I’ve had a small taste of the same feeling—a sense that God is doing something fresh in my life.  Instead of decorating a bulletin board and organizing my desk, I’ve gone on a mission to organize our whole house (courtesy of the first housekeeping book I’ve ever read in my life!  More on this in a future post.)  I’ve allowed myself to dream big dreams with my husband.  And most importantly of all, I’ve taken an honest look at my life and decided I want a lot more out of it.

There was a time when I took God at His word.  I mean literally took Him at His word.  As a kid in the Philippines, my parents used to give me ten pesos a week in allowance.  They taught me to tithe one peso to the church.  I still remember the day I told my dad I wanted to give 100 pesos to the church.  He asked me if I was really sure, and I can remember feeling excited and pragmatic at the very same time.  It made so much sense to me.  If Jesus is the most valuable thing in the world, and eternity is all that truly matters, what could be better than giving my money to Jesus’ church?  I got it as a kid.  I wasn’t afraid to follow a radical God with radical faith.

But as I grew older I began to realize that Christianity could be a lot more convenient if I sort of took God at His word.  So I gathered His mandates and mixed in a couple of qualifiers, added some safety precautions, threw in a few exceptions, and pretty much developed a comfortable blend of Christianity that could co-exist with my own desires for a secure and easy life.

But this is what I’ve discovered–if you want to water down God’s calling, then you also have to water down the blessings of obedience to God’s calling.  You have to settle for an average marriage, relative peace, mediocre satisfaction.  And I don’t want any of those things.

I want ALL that God has for me.  I want the joy that comes from genuine devotion to Christ.  The peace that comes from true submission.  The love that comes from walking with Jesus.  I want the freedom that comes with surrender.  The hope that comes with faith.  The perseverance that comes by grace.

I want a fresh start.  Not a legalistic attempt to never make another mistake, or a resolution to “try harder.”  Just a quiet, moment-by-moment surrender to Jesus.  A humble prayer to regain some of the wonder I once had as a child.

What about you?  Would you like a fresh start?  Don’t be afraid–because of His grace, it’s yours for the taking.

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