Back in December, wrapped in a cable-knit blanket and the weight of 2016, I considered what the new year would bring. I thought about the dates already marked on my calendar, the etched-in-stone endings to seasons that have shaped me into myself. The coming year was going to be difficult. It was going to be a year that required more of me than previous ones, that took me beautiful and dangerous places. I pictured myself this year standing on the edge of some great height, powerless yet completely at ease, trusting my ability to stand on my own two feet.
As quickly as that picture formed, another took its place. I saw my old familiar self, safely tucked indoors. Loneliness cast a shadow over the scene, followed quickly by fear. I could almost feel myself falling. That comfortable fear threatened me. It would have liked to lay claim on another year of my life.
It would have, except I couldn’t shake the me I saw that night. Untethered yet completely secure.
The next morning I started making lists and plans. I thought of the goodness that is a beginning and continued to wonder how I would get to that point of sure and steady freedom.
I hadn’t searched out a word to define the approaching year or crafted a list of resolute goals. I wanted the year to be clean, an opportunity. The word I never looked for came to me then, so obvious I hated it at first. The word was new.
New, not because of a new year or a new season, but because in order to find my way to freedom I would need to be made new. I would need to create space for the Father to come in, knocking down walls and reworking the structure of me. If I ever wanted to go from the safe to the courageous, something needed to change.
I reluctantly claimed the word. Once it was written on the first page of my journal, I moved forward into January, captivated again by change yet giving little thought to the word that had gripped me that day.
Now it’s February. The things once marked on my calendar are happening in real time, and it was only just today that I gave any thought to new-ness. To the word I had guessed would make this year. I braced myself for disappointment, sure I would have nothing to show of new-ness. That I would be the same as I was in December, wrapped in a blanket and my own doubt.
Yet against the odds of my own humanness, the new is sinking into my life. Through intentional, painful work and quiet, gracious changes, the Father is making me into a new kind of woman. I am relearning things like trust and experiencing things like peace for the first time in too long. The beginning of this road to new-ness has been mostly calm, but I am starting to recognize the firmness under my feet that will hold up when things are not so calm.
I am becoming new, new enough to stand firm. New enough to be free.