Mon, May 20, 2024

Faith Friday: Simply begin again

Steve Swanson is the former station manager of 88.3 WAFJ radio station in North Augusta.

It is the time of year when many people are focused on new things – new diets, new habits, and new goals. In the clear, crisp air of winter and sunrises illuminating morning frost, there seems to be an additional layer of hope.  It’s a great time to be alive and a great time to reflect and evaluate where you’ve been and where you’re headed. As an unknown sage has astutely observed, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there!”

The year ended on a different note for me. As I had mentioned previously, we had made the decision to keep our Christmas celebration “low-key.” At one time thinking that we might just set up the manger scene and get the tree up and decorated. As it turned out, my wife and I agreed that putting the manger scene up would be sufficient. So, we did. It’s still up. Although, I suspect we will pack it away one day soon.

In many years past, I have been caught up in the creation of a list of resolutions/goals for the New Year. My success rate for that (often) lengthy list was mixed. In other years, I have thought myself a bit wiser by limiting the list to a maximum of 3 things. My success rate there? A little better. Then I heard about prayerfully selecting a word to focus on as a “word of the year.” A theme to keep front and center all year long. Now, this seemed like the best idea yet! I have done this several times now and have found it helpful. I know some people are big on this pattern and it seems to make a positive difference for them.

I’m choosing to start 2024 with a different perspective. I’m thinking about not what I can grab a hold of, but of what I can let go of! What can I release and lose going forward? A couple of specific things have come to mind.

The first thing I’m leaving behind is regret. I am choosing to stop beating myself up for the plans I made that never materialized. I’m releasing others from my expectations about how they should interact with me. With God’s help, I will let the past be past. If you ever take a Dale Carnegie course, you’ll be taught about the importance of seeing each day as an individual container. When the day is over, that container is sealed, never to be accessed or changed. It is over and done. Never to be modified. Live fully in the present. Today is all we have.

I have also decided that I am going to let go of any unforgiveness I carry in my relationships. Forgiveness is a gift we’ve been given. I’ve experienced it repeatedly. It’s powerful and deeply impacts the one seeking forgiveness and the one offering it. God has provided the ability for us to receive forgiveness and then give it away, again and again.

I’m letting go of my own unrealistic expectations. I know my tendencies; I know my personal track record. I need to lower my expectations to realistic levels about what I can accomplish over the course of any given day.

I am choosing to make the days of this year a joy ride. So often, we lock ourselves into patterns that repeat themselves day after day and week after week. With God’s help, I am going to let him be the driver, not my co-pilot. Even when the road gets bumpy and rough conditions occur- which they eventually will. I will trust that he knows where he’s going and the best way to get there.

There is a specific challenge I want to leave you with today. That is the challenge to experience the power of apology. If you can’t quickly recall the last time you extended an apology to someone else, it’s probably been too long. Many positive things happen when we seek forgiveness.

I imagine a parent telling their child to “Say you’re sorry.” I’m not talking about just saying the words because you think you’re supposed to, but truly seeking a fresh start and mended relationship. There is an incredible amount of power available when we initiate the healing of a broken relationship. God is always ready to give you the strength you need to get the process started.

Debbie Griffith is an author friend of mine. In her book, Orange is the New Blessin, she talks about parenting her four adult sons and her perspective on apologies. “It’s funny because as an adult, to my adult sons, I think I’ve apologized more now than when they were little. I apologize most often for overstepping and offering unsolicited advice. Unconditional love, I know, means I love them no matter what they do or don’t do. Real love means I let them make choices, with their free will, to live a life of love based on knowing who they are in Christ. If they don’t follow Him. I love them unconditionally, too. Bottom line: we all have hard seasons, and, as Mama said, “There will be ‘days’ like this,” but there are great days here now, too. There is so much to look forward to in our final home of perfect peace. This isn’t it. You’ve got this Mama because God’s got you and He always has the final Word.”

You can embrace 2024 without dragging along old thoughts and baggage from years gone by. God specializes in fresh starts and new beginnings for your work, relationships, and spiritual growth. You can experience freedom from the past and fresh hope for today.

I’ve started listening to the Bible ( in chronological order this year. As I listened, I was reminded that when we stumble, fall, get off course, let others down, or let ourselves down, simply begin again. Right where we are.

Thank you for reading Faith Friday again this week. Your encouragement is appreciated!

Subscribe to our eNewsletter for the BEST local business news delivered to your Inbox each week day.

* indicates required

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More Posts

No room at the inn!

Great news on the manufacturing front in both Augusta and Aiken. Mike Petchenik has more in this week’s Biz Bits. Subscribe to our eNewsletter for

Hitting Rock Bottom

Stephanie Stuckey’s turnaround in the family brand is nothing short of remarkable. Recently, she told our ABD’s Inspire 24 audience how it almost didn’t happen

Brews, bites, and barks

Sometimes, business dreams are worth waiting for. When Andrew Phifer, an engineer, and his wife, Rachel, an accountant, found themselves more apart than together because