“New Year, new you!” I know I’ve heard that a lot in early January over the years.
But the truth is, being made new is a much longer process than just the flip of a calendar, moving from one year to the next. I can see ways God has made me new, even in the past year. It’s been slow and steady progress, with setbacks and challenges. But it is nice to look back and see how I’ve grown into who I am right now.
Saul Became Paul
Thinking about being made into a new person makes me think of one of the most dramatic examples in the Bible: when Saul became Paul. The most recent time I read about his conversion, I realized something I hadn’t noticed before: he came to Christ in Acts 9, but was still called Saul until Acts 13. So while Saul’s acceptance of Jesus was very sudden, he didn’t become Paul overnight.
I found this very encouraging as I thought about my own life. While there are defining moments along the way, the process of God transforming me always takes time.
Becoming a New Mom
I think another great example of this is becoming a mother.
I became pregnant in an instant, then I had 9 months to get ready for the baby to be born. While the process of labor and delivery felt very long, all of a sudden my daughter was there and I had a baby in my arms.
There was no denying I was a mother, but it took time, practice, long nights, and lots of challenges along the way to learn how to be an infant’s mom. And then a toddler’s, preschooler’s, young child’s, and now elementary-aged little girl.
We all have these moments where something big changes, but that doesn’t mean we’re a new person all of a sudden. We all see the years flip from one to the next, and sometimes we’re inspired to make big changes in our life, but that doesn’t mean we become a new person just like that.
Decide to Be New
We’re all in the process of growth; it takes time and a lot of little decisions along the way.
What decisions are you making day-to-day? How are you choosing to spend your time? How are you choosing to interact with others?
This leads me to another person in the story of Saul becoming Paul: Barnabas. Known as the son of encouragement, there are multiple examples of the way he empowered people like Paul and Mark in Acts. In Saul’s story, Barnabas was the first one that accepted Saul into the Christian community. He was the one that saw God’s hand in people and encouraged them along the way.
We may not have the same gifts as Barnabas, but it’s a good example that we all have value. Some of our roles may be less visible, but that doesn’t make them less important.
Place Your Focus on Him
God created us each with different gifts and abilities. When we place our focus on Him, especially as we make decisions throughout the day, He molds us into His design for us and continues to make us new, no matter what time of year it is!