Who doesn’t love a fresh start? It might be buying a new house or car and enjoying the freedom from repairs (at least for a few weeks). It might be cleaning out the pantry, joining a gym and beginning a new healthy lifestyle.
And then there are natural fresh starts that allow us to breathe in the excitement that comes with new opportunities.
Transitioning from high school to college was one of those moments for me. It was a chance to reinvent myself without all the baggage of the past 12 years. New interests, new experiences and new people to meet allowed me to figure out more of my potential and what opportunities lay before me. And believe me, I grabbed hold of everything I could juggle in my arms and tied strings to my belt with the things I couldn’t. I threw myself in deep and swam through the endless hours of academics, activities and achievements.
Following college graduation I committed to a short-term missions assignment.
Diving in deep
For the next two and a half years, I swam even deeper — growing in my faith like I had never before experienced, developing life-changing relationships and refining my intense desire to serve others.
Next came my transition to The Alabama Baptist (TAB). What started out as a short-term job to get me through Beeson Divinity School at Samford University turned into a beloved career. Now, 20 years later, I look back and realize I’ve been swimming so far and so deep that I can no longer see the shore. I am one with the sea — but not just with TAB, in all aspects of Alabama Baptist life. I love this people group and am honored to be one of them and serve them.
But even with the depth of my love for Alabama Baptists, are there moments I’m tempted to bail for a fresh start? Absolutely.
The weight from dealing with daily life issues year after year, the frustrations that lie continuously beneath the surface, the disappointments, the unmet expectations, the exhaustion from carrying each other along the journey — they are real.
Holding on to the rope
It isn’t any different than the decisions all of us face in life.
It may be a difficult choice in your personal life. It may be in church life — to revitalize the dying congregation or plant a new one. It may be in the workplace or volunteer role — to dig deep to find freshness in a long-term position or make a change which guarantees new energy.
It isn’t that one answer is necessarily right and one is wrong; it is about determining what is best despite the cloud of emotions, exhaustion, etc., that might be tainting our view.
Sometimes life gets so marred down that escaping to a blank slate seems like the only way to survive. And in many cases, that truly is the best move to make.
But we also should evaluate if gaining some relief, taking a break or making a specific adjustment would release us from the lack of enthusiasm, loss of love or hopelessness we might be feeling. After all, fresh starts are a never-ending desire and it won’t be long before that which is new is old again — complete with its own heavy luggage.
What makes the most difference, whichever decision we make, is to hold on to the rope that connects us to Christ. I may be battered from being pounded in the storm and continuously tossed up against the side of the rescue boat but I hold on tight, knowing with confidence He won’t let go of His end.
We may need a fresh start sometimes. But what we need even more is the consistency of a God who doesn’t let us go — a God who works in both our current situations and our fresh starts.
—Jennifer Davis Rash