by Beth Duewel @DuewelBeth
...and let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing… James 1:2-4 ESV
Every few months I start a new to-do list. Maybe you’ve recently started planning that new project? A new goal, like that new look for the new you? Granted, the “out with the old—in with the new” can be so inspiring.
Like the time I decided to make a change to my daughter Brooklyn’s OLD room. It was pink with polka dots, sorta looking like a neon-pink giraffe. (If you have a pink giraffe at your house—solidarity, friend!) It had fulfilled my then eight-year-old’s dream of “The best room evvvvver!”
I’d poured work into it way back when. But now it was time to pour more paint into the tray to cover it up. As I did, I thought back to the special time of Brooklyn helping me create it, all pink and happiness. But now it quickly became apparent that moving on would not be as easy as I thought. Let me just say—pink giraffes don’t go down without a fight.
Seriously, after three coats of primer and paint and pink still poking through, my husband’s eyes began to question what I was doing. Did his eyes even have to ask? I simply wanted an easy checklist item on my DIY to-do list. I wanted to accomplish something. I wanted to enjoy it.
The good feelings disappeared far more quickly than the polka-dots did.
And I sure didn’t help the situation. Because, while I started painting with a passion, I found it necessary to stop for a sandwich and then a meeting. A load of laundry. A lint trap. A deadline. It turned into days and days of this unreasonableness as every other thing threatened to overwhelm my good intentions for those walls. I ended up stuck in overwhelmed mode and fixated on something elses for three whole weeks.
Turns out—it’s important to get-right-back to painting. Especially when you forget to replace the lid on the paint before a three-week long lunch break. Want the FYI on the DIY? A can of Bleached Cotton congeals, turns the color of baby pooh, and shrinks to the size of a salad plate when you let it go. Can you say, “All dried up and good for nothing?” The paint had lost its purpose, and I’d lost my appetite.
That’s one of the things I’d like to remember as I march fresh into this new day, new project, or new perspective: that something fresh isn’t necessarily the something NEW I need to throw myself into. Discovering fresh joy may mean revisiting a previous passion, project, or purpose, or a goal I’ve intentionally left behind. I have to admit, the “newish” tendency doesn’t go down without a fight, but I’ve discovered it’s never too late to try again.
Moving forward doesn’t always look like I’d imagined. Even spiritually, sometimes progress can look like failure. But failure is always an integral part of the faith-fight with the sense that no matter what—God in His excellence—is doing the work and helping me to grow. To forge ahead by going…back? To endure by helping me to break an old habit. To renew a strained relationship or maintain an old hope. To finally forgive. Or to pray with perseverance that certain prayer (again). Because some things simply never get old!
Want a fresh new outlook for a new day? Here it is: With God there is no NEW or OLD, there is only forever.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever (Psalm 138:8 ESV).
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing the in the Lord your labor is not in vain (1 Corinthians15:58 ESV).
So take another look at the verse with which we began, this time with closer resolve, “And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1: 4 ESV). Turns out it’s important to get right back to looking for the good, because this verse in its entirety is the reminder to “count it all joy” (vs.2), with encouragement to stay-put and consider everything that’s become a part of our journey. Even those painful things we’ve left behind.
So, here’s to pink giraffes and a new resolve to pray that too familiar prayer! Again. And again. And again.
Father, renew my spirit in surprising ways today. Help me move forward with fresh hope and purpose, believing in what You’re going to-do. But also keep me looking back with faith to all You have already accomplished. Revisiting the familiar reminds me of how good, faithful, and loving You are. You really do want me to lack nothing. Thank You in advance for forever. Amen.
Adapted with permission from Fix Her Upper: Reclaim Your HAPPY Space, Bold Vision Publishing.
About the author: Beth Duewel is a writer, speaker, and blogger at Fix-Her-Upper.com. She has three almost adulting children, and lives with her husband in Ashland, Ohio. Beth and her coauthor, Rhonda Rhea, are super excited about their new book, Fix Her Upper: Reclaim Your Happy Space.
Join the conversation: What “old” thing is God bringing to your heart today?