He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion… Phil 1:6
Isn’t that a beautiful promise? It’s practical, it’s encouraging, it’s good news. He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion: Conclusion. Closure. Attainment. Culmination. Finalization. Perfection. That has always been one of my favorite “go to” verses when I didn’t feel like I was doing, performing, or being good enough…when I had messed up, gotten discouraged, or felt hopelessly flawed. Fittingly, it’s also the motivational opening verse in the introduction of Elisa Pulliam’s newest release “Meet the New You.” *
I recently joined the launch team for the book release, but didn’t initially make the connection that “The New You” would be released just in time for the new year. Can you think of a more appropriate title to wave like a banner over the first day of the new year? New Year: New You. Popular circles, headlines, and social media are all ablaze with talk about resolutions, words for the year, new choices, and various lifestyles that focus on self-improvement, accomplishment, or personal satisfaction. How many fitness clubs are bustling with new members who pledge their commitments to better discipline and habits? At least for a little while. How many bookstores offer stacks and displays that encourage better or trendy lifestyles and practices? Or at least offer to take up room on your already crowded bookshelf?
“Real change happens when you start embracing fresh attitudes and focused habits, all in light of God’s grace and truth.” (Elisa Pulliam)
When I decided to read “Meet the New You,” it wasn’t necessarily because I felt stuck or discouraged. It wasn’t even that I disliked or disapproved of the old me. I think it was the subtitle that caught my eye and encouraged me to dig in with pen, paper, and bible in hand: “A 21-Day Plan for Embracing Fresh Attitudes and Focused Habits for Real Life Change.” Fresh? Focused? Count me in! All accomplished in a concise 21-day plan? Even better!
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? Isaiah 43:19
Do you not perceive it? How often do we not perceive what God has done or is doing in our lives? How do we so easily miss it? Are we distracted? Unaware? Opposed by life circumstances or an unseen enemy? Consumed by busyness, uncertainty, insecurity, or ambivalence?
How appropriate that the first section of the book is titled “A Fresh Awareness.” I won’t outline the entire book, but in plotting the course the book would direct us, the author offers practical encouragement and suggestions:
- Seek the Lord for relevant, biblically sound solutions.
- Face the obstacles before you through the power of God at work in you.
- Discover your God given identity and wiring.
- Uncover the story God is writing through your life.
- Carve out a vision for your future based on God’s purposes for your life. (Elisa Pulliam #theNEWyou)
Those simple, specific words of instruction offer a framework, a point of reference, a compass as we walk into a new year. Notice the verbs: seek, face, discover, uncover, carve. They are active. They are intentional. Today is January 1, the first day of a new year. A blank page, an empty shelf, a fresh start. What will you write on the page, store on the shelf, or begin afresh and new? What will your journey and your story recount when you look back on the year from December 31st?
“Time will pass between your fingers and weave around every breath. You can’t stop it, grab it, or bottle it. But you can live purposefully in it.” (Elisa Pulliam)
I don’t make traditional New Year’s resolutions, but I have purposely chosen a motivational word for 2016: a word to think about, focus on, engage, and actively pursue. That word: choose. I have chosen to choose. 🙂 I will choose to seek the Lord, choose to face the obstacles, choose to discover my God-given identity and wiring, choose to uncover the story God is writing in my life, and choose to carve out a vision based on his purposes for my life. In addition to those specific choices, I will also choose to see, choose to feel, choose to believe, choose to heal, choose to live, choose to love, choose to try, choose to pursue, choose to speak truth and encouragement, and choose to be a newer, more complete me. Happy New Year!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Cor 5:17
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10