By Brie Gowen
Ten years ago on New Year’s Eve I drank so much that I blacked out. Like I don’t even remember ringing in the New Year at all. The thing is it wasn’t my first black out. I did it pretty frequently. Many times I look back on my life and I wonder what I was thinking. I regret the time wasted, the relationships lost, the blocks of time I’ll never recall or even get back, the people I caused to stumble along the way, and the pain I must have created for my Father in Heaven. I certainly can’t travel back in time to correct the mistakes I made. Even if future me shook the drunken shell of past me, I’d probably be too inebriated to notice. Or I’d wake up saying, “Today is gonna be different. Today I’m going to start living better, being healthier, doing life like I know I’m supposed to.” Then I’d inevitably fail. Again.
I suppose the same struggle could be said for 2016, although not one with alcohol (sober seven years and counting). But I struggle all the same with changes I would like to make in life. I pray at the end of the day for forgiveness, and I declare that tomorrow will be different. “I won’t let my anger get the best of me.” Or perhaps, “I won’t be judgmental of others.” Maybe even something as simple as giving up Diet Coke or giving more to others. I decide to make a change, but then the next day I scream at my kids or make a snap judgment about a stranger before I even realize I’ve done it. I fail.
But here’s what I try not to do. I try to not let it define me. I am a woman with a tainted past, but that isn’t who I am. Sure, it helps mold me into the person I am becoming, but my mistakes don’t give me my name. Jesus does. I am His. I am His Beloved.
The fabulous thing about salvation is how it delivers you. It takes you from the clutches of the enemy’s hands and places you in the arms of Jesus. It wipes the slate clean. It doesn’t demand perfection, just a faithful heart eager to serve the Lord out of love, not obligation. It takes sin and destroys its power over your life. It doesn’t take the sin from you, but it makes you no longer a prisoner to that sin. You can move forward in freedom. You can break the chains that hold you back and proceed in victory.
Your past does not define you. Your struggles do not make you who you are. As a child of God you’re not represented by 2016, 1996 or even yesterday. You are a new creation, and as such you can walk forward in confidence forgetting what is behind you. You can learn from your past mistakes, but you don’t have to be crushed by them. You don’t have to believe the lie that just because you’ve tried and failed thus far that you will continue to fail when you try once more. January 21, 2009, God lit a fire in my heart to stop letting alcohol and other things control me. Though I had failed before, this time I did not. What would have happened if I had stopped trying? I’d probably be in jail or dead.
If you’re desiring to make changes in 2017 then I say go for it. This is your year to shine. This is your year to move forward confidently in the power of the Lord. I leave you with a few power verses you can speak over your upcoming year. There is power in God’s word. Proclaim these truths in your life as you move forward confidently into 2017. Happy New Year!
We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!