The freezing water enveloped my head as I plunged into complete darkness. My heart stopped for a moment in fear as I frantically climbed to the surface of the pitch black water. I looked over at my best friend and laughed as we both swam quickly back to the dock to get out of the frigid temperature. It was around 11:00pm.
Now why was I jumping into the Puget Sound, in the middle of December, at night, when I probably should have been asleep? That’s a good question.
That was a few years ago and the quarter had been a difficult one for me personally. Well, difficult is quite the understatement. In reality, I almost didn't make it. My friend had gone through her own share of ups and downs and we were both….exhausted. Both mentally and physically exhausted.
Life can have a way of weighing you down and we were both feeling the weight of a season that hadn’t been what either of us had expected.
In fact, it had felt a lot like jumping into a freezing cold lake. The initial shock, darkness that threatens to swallow your very existence, and that feeling of sweet relief when you break past the surface.
Just like that Polar Plunge, the New Year brings a new beginning and a represents a new resurrection.
2017 has come and gone, and a new year is upon us! And as is the American tradition, many of us will attempt to make lists of things we hope to do better and goals that we want to accomplish.
Read more books
Work out at the gym
Explore the outdoors more
These are all good things but I warn you to be careful. As a recovering perfectionist myself I know it is very easy to let these goals become consuming and weigh down your soul. I “HAVE” to finish this, or I “SHOULD” do that, or I’ll be a failure if I don’t get all these things done.
So I have one word for you: Permission.
Give yourself permission to fail! Yes, make those New Year’s Resolutions, but if life turns another direction and heaven forbid you eat one more cookie than you wanted… guess what…it’s okay...healthy even!
Let yourself believe in the hope that things can turn around for the better. That you can be kind to yourself, and love yourself a little more each day.
I know that can be easier said than done, but remember how the world filled with darkness the hours after Jesus’ death on the cross?
There was no hope. The savior of the world had been defeated, and sometimes that sense of hopelessness is all too real for us as well. It can feel like the world will continue to be dark and dismal forever. But it was in perhaps the hardest trial of Jesus’ life where the greatest miracle unfolded. Where he conquered all our addictions, trauma, and hatred and replaced it with his unconditional love.
He’s holding out his arms today saying, “Child, I know you can’t do this alone. So won’t you let me in. I can help you be the person you’ve always wanted to be.”
So let the new year remind you that because of his resurrection, we have permission to fall short but through our reliance on him, we will be made strong enough to conquer the darkness and claim the hope that he has promised.
Happy New Year!