January is the month of new beginnings. In the western hemisphere, it is the beginning of the new year, and it is the first full month in which we see the days becoming longer, and the nights shorter. January is the time when we make New Year’s resolutions, new commitments, and new efforts to improve our daily lives and lifestyles. After a busy, often stressful December, January is a time in which we can reset ourselves to face the new year with all of its challenges and expectations.
New beginnings can come in many forms. It is not only by the dates and times that we can recognize new beginnings in our lives, but it could also be in the form of a newborn baby, a new job or career, or even a new car or house. In either case, it is an opportunity to start over, better put, start anew. However, new beginnings can trigger anxiety or fear because we lack knowledge about the future. We can only hope that the good experiences to come will far outweigh the bad. When we reflect on the past, there could be good reason the have some apprehension of the future. Many of us have experienced losses, or overwhelming challenges that makes it difficult to even imagine a pleasant future.
None of us are immune to difficulties and challenging experiences. Therefore, stress, anxiety and fear are a part of our everyday lives. So, we have to learn to cope with these potential debilitating experiences and emotions. One way to do this is remember or reflect on the good that was experienced in the past. As we enter a new year, or a new venture in life, it is good to be intentional about recalling what went well. It is cultivating a sense of gratitude. I was recently reminded of this while talking to a member at my church about my experiences over the past year. Sometimes, the good things that have happened may seem invisible, and unless they are carefully recalled, they may easily go unnoticed. If you are a nice decorator, you may look around and enjoy the work you or perhaps someone else has done. But when the light is turned off, you can no longer see the delightful arrangements that you had previously enjoyed. The difficult experiences in our life is similar to turning off the lights, but the beauty that was already there still remains, its just a matter of acknowledging it again. This is one way to face the future, with a little confidence that good still exists in your life, even if it is not so visible at the time.
Also, rather than trying to figure out what the future holds, it is better to embrace the present. Although the present may not be as preferred, good is still there, but sometimes it has to be sought after and found. Most of us hope for improvement, which is good. It is good to want to keep growing and keep seeing improvements around us but working towards a sense of gratitude in our current circumstances is beneficial.
Lastly, committing the future to God is most important. He is the one who knows every detail of the future and He is able to bring to light His goodness and interventions for each one of us. Sometimes waiting for the revelation of God’s goodness and presence can be challenging, but remember, just because the clouds cover the sun does not mean the sun is not there. It’s just a matter of time for it to reappear.