In many stores you see a sign on one door saying ‘enter’ and on another door a sign saying ‘exit’. Someone said: “The way you exit is the way you enter.” I don’t think they were suggesting you enter through the exit door or leave through the entry door. This quote didn’t make sense to me at first but as I enter 2013, I’m giving some thought to the way I’m exiting 2012. Do I want to exit this past year carrying a lot of baggage into this new season or do I want to enter the New Year with a lighter load.
All of us accumulate baggage over the years as we travel on life’s journey. It may come from disappointments and we carry around hurts. That’s baggage! Maybe we failed miserably and we tote memories that bring on depression. More baggage! Before you know it the pain piles up and we carry the suitcases of anger, resentment and bitterness. Life becomes a constant task of moving baggage from one place to another.
If you unpack some of the heavy burdens as you exit 2012, you don’t have to enter 2013 the same way! You can enter with a lighter load and a different attitude. Here’s what Jesus said:
Matt 11:28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
There are three pieces of baggage you need to leave behind as you exit 2012 and enter 2013. If you don’t, they will rob you of joy.
There’s always someone around who loves to point out your mistakes, failures inadequacies and sins. They are quick to scrutinize and remind you of your imperfections. When you have received the gift of forgiveness from Jesus through confession of your sins, however, your guilt gives way to God’s goodness. You don’t have to be guilty because of your past; you can be freed if you focus on what’s ahead rather than what’s behind
We’ve all been hurt by others but you don’t have to ‘hold a grudge.’ You can let it go. Turn it over to God by forgiving those who have hurt you. They aren’t getting off the hook for what they have done to you – they are simply being turned over to the one who can judge properly. It’s amazing how lighter and brighter you feel when you let a grudge go.
Jesus came to help us with our grief. In this world you will have trouble, the Bible says but Jesus said: “take heart! I have overcome the world.” According to Isaiah the prophet, Jesus came to help us find the gold in dirt we find ourselves mired in at times. He can help us praise instead of grieve.
The author of Hebrews, a book in the Bible says: “let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
If you follow his advice, you will exit 2012 differently and therefore enter 2013 better prepared to meet every Challenge.