One time for Christmas, some of our kids got those fancy coloring books made for adults.
I immediately begged my 6-year-old daughter at the time to let me color one of her pages. She mercifully decreed that it be so, and I soon found myself lost in the microscopic intricacies of the fanciest pigeon you’ve ever seen. It’s pretty great.
Anyway, all this coloring with colored pencils got my wife and I talking about our experiences as children with crayons. My bride’s eyes sparkled as she talked about her giant box of 64 crayons with a built-in sharpener. She reminisced about organizing and re-organizing the colors and how much care she took to not break them. As I would have expected, she kept them immaculate and that box lasted her a very long time.
I, on the other hand, kept my motley collection of crayons crammed in a fake leather brown box. They were all different shapes and sizes, each one marred and speckled by constantly shifting around in a box full of other colors. Is that Cerulean? Who in world knows . . . the paper is nearly all torn off!! (Cerulean, in case you are wondering, IS the very best color Crayola ever made).
Don’t get me wrong, I always LOVED coloring with brand new sharp Crayons . . . I just wasn’t very good at keeping them that way for very long.
I don’t know what last year was like for you, your family, your career and your ministry. Maybe things didn’t go exactly like you had planned and hoped. Maybe you feel like you ended the year with a mismatched box of broken, messed-up crayons.
- You didn’t see the breakthroughs with your kids you had hoped for
- You didn’t reach all of your ministry and personal goals
- The response of your church and community to the needs of orphans and kids in foster care did not match your expectations
- Last year’s New Years resolutions ended up as broken nubs by the time you hit January 24th
The thing I love about the new year is the chance to start over with a box of nice new pointy crayons. It brings new hope and new possibilities. Here are a few practical things we can all do to use the fresh start well:
- Abandon the New Year resolutions now. Only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions. Choose to replace them with specific, realistic but challenging, time-bound goals that you write down and put in a place that you will see regularly.
- Find one good thing you can stop doing. We are not talking about bad habits here – of course you should be eliminating those. But what is something GOOD that you really don’t need to be doing and could possibly replace with something else that is GREAT.
- Don’t keep coloring with that dull nub – sharpen that thing! What are the areas of life, work and ministry that are just not working that well? Spend the time to revisit those areas with a trusted friend or spouse and ask the question “What will it take to make this area work?” Don’t worry if those resources don’t seem like they are available to you right now. Write them down and begin to ask the Lord to meet you where you are and provide in those areas.
By the way, the real truth is that new starts don’t just come in the New Year. If you get to February and your crayons are already starting to look a little tired and broken, remember this:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;[a]
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)
This post originally appeared in our Foster Roster e-newsletter which is delivered each Friday. We keep it short and sweet and fill it with practical articles, videos, blog posts and other tools for leaders like you working to help kids and families in foster care. To sign up, go to http://bit.ly/1rwn6eO.