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The door swung open and we stepped across the threshold of another new year.

Close your eyes and imagine yourself standing at the doorway to 2017. Were you someone eager and hopeful, tiptoed or even crouching, ready to skip or leap with a grin into the open space like a little child ready to get outside and make footprints in fresh, undisturbed snow?  Maybe you were reluctant and even afraid to step out, like someone standing under a ledge watching a downpour, not wanting to get drenched in the run to your parked car on the far side of the big parking lot.  Some of you might have stared vacantly at the open space ahead, taking great effort to just take one step. Maybe your heart is numb, worn out or depleted from challenges, disappointments, even grief you walked through in 2016.  You might have marched through, slamming the door behind you, so ready to get last year behind you, wanting to forget it altogether.

Even though we can’t see all that this year will hold, are there life events you’re looking forward to or dreading, or are you not sure what to think?

Lots of people tweeted or “Instagrammed” about the past year, whether or not they met goals, what they’re glad to walk away from, what was good or positive, which things went the way they hoped, which things didn’t. Many blamed 2016 for the tragedies we witnessed, the many well-known, well-loved celebrities that died, a wacky election, and more.  Goals and/or resolutions for the next 365 days (actually 355 as of today) were abundant across all of social media.

I used to blog regularly and it was extremely helpful to me when looking back through posts, like leafing through a diary. Lessons learned, emotions that ran amuck or got stuffed, happy times, frustrations, let downs, and the like filled the “pages.” Writing is a way of processing. It helps me figure out and sort through things. 

I haven’t blogged regularly for a few years now. Part of the reason being I was asking myself, “Who really needs to know what you’re thinking or feeling?” “There are so many opinions, editorials, reflections, and such on the Internet. Why do people need to read yours?” So many words out there, so much noise. Do we really need more?

I like to blog because I like to encourage people, which is a big part of my God-given purpose. I like a sense of community, in which you relate to other people traveling through life, sharing hardships and victories, laughing, telling stories, loving. I love the idea of helping someone else feel less alone in this life. If something I’ve been learning or struggling through or actually conquering would accomplish that, then I want to keep blogging.

So far in 2017, I’ve been reminded that words matter and our thoughts shape the path we take, so I need to keep positive, life-giving words in front of me to help keep my thoughts on the right path. God has been showing me, much to my delight (not really) how much of my life, my choices, my attitudes, and such are driven by pride. I want Him to change that in me, but I also cringe in the asking because I know it will be tough and most likely painful.

What are you learning so far? Can we try to let go of the past and look for the good in this year? Can we trust God and not let fear hinder us like heavy weights around our ankles? There will be “bad” stuff and hard stuff in 2017, there always is. BUT, there will be a lot of good: a lot of possibility, a lot of opportunity, a lot of people to love, a lot to learn, a lot of time to grow and become, a lot of chances to do better, a lot of hope. For those of us who follow Jesus, we can be cheered by the truth that He is timeless and so has already been in the year to come and promises to be with us.

I’d be honored to walk with you. Ready? Here we go.

“Lead on, O King eternal,

We follow, not with fears,

For gladness breaks like morning

Where’re thy face appears” – Ernest W. Shurtleff