New starts

Pastoral Messages | February 24, 2016

It was a pretty quiet morning at the gym today. As I laced up my tennis shoes, I found myself looking around wondering where all the people went. It seems just a month or so ago, I was scouring the room to find an open treadmill and waiting my turn to use the weight machines.  Now I have my choice of bicycle or elliptical.  I could’ve done cartwheels down the aisles (if I knew how to complete a cartwheel) and there would’ve only been a person or two there to notice.

It could be that the Quad Cities has experienced some unseasonably warm weather these past few days — causing people to take their exercise routines outside. Or, perhaps the usual post-New Year’s Resolution slump has found its way to the nearby YMCA. My guess is it might have more to do with the latter.

About this time every year, the commitment to one’s New Year’s resolutions starts to wane a bit. The excitement of a new interest slowly wears off. Reality begins to set in or the lack of rewards gives little motivation. What first seemed like a great idea doesn’t seem so fun anymore. So, the resolutions get thrown out the window or we think “Better luck next year.”

Of course, this isn’t just a mindset that’s tied to resolutions. We can be tempted to give up or give in every time we feel like a failure. With each misstep or wrong turn, it seems easier to simply wave a white flag than give it another go.

Thankfully, we’re not alone in our confession of defeat. It was the apostle Paul who once wrote, “I do not do what I want, but I end up doing the very things I hate.” And Paul was just one in a long line of biblical figures whose actions were, by no stretch of the imagination, considered failures or disappointments.

And yet, with every person who seemed to fall short of what they aimed to do, there was God offering a heaping amount of grace and forgiveness. The same God who gives each of us a chance to start each day with new possibilities and a fresh perspective.

This is what gives me hope on most days. While I made it to the gym this morning, I’m also often the one hitting the snooze on the alarm and choosing to sleep in instead. When a friend challenged me to give up desserts for Lent, I made it all of about twelve hours before giving in to the temptation of my sweet tooth.

I think you’re with me, too. When our patience wears thin with the ones we love. When we disappoint others in words or actions. When we fail to keep our end of a promise. It may seem like the obvious choice is to give up. But then there’s God reminding us of the gift of a new start. The opportunity to begin again.

Like the beautiful words from the Old Testament book of Lamentations, “God’s mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning.” No matter how many mornings we miss the gym or how many times we feel we’ve failed, God never fails to show up. With every new day, is a new opportunity to live in God’s grace.

Katy Warren, associate pastor

2 Comments on “New starts”

  • Jim Case

    February 28, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    Great message Katy. Deb and I justify and treat ourselves to an occasional bag of spice drops if we get in some excersize as a trade off. As I think of the many times I have failed to live up to ( my ) expectations of something I try to do , leaning on the promises God gives me hope to look myself in the mirror each morning. I am so thankful for fresh starts. I know I am bound to fail at some point again. God’s grace allows me courage to keep trying!

  • Genie Craven

    February 25, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    Katy, I know that sweet tooth and after a number of years of trying to give up sweets and feeling guilty I give up playing games on the computer. For me that is very hard, i sometimes think I’m addicted to games on the computer ….but for 3 years now I’ve kept that Lenten promise and gained more time for other things I think the Lord would have me do!

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