For many, New Year’s Eve can be an occasion for excessive drinking. There are many reasons for that, but one of them, for sure, is the desire that many of us have to put things behind us. As we turn the page on the calendar with high hopes for better days to come, we can’t help but call to mind the regrets, failures, hurts, pains, and disappointments of the previous year. Perhaps one way that people seek to turn the page is to anesthetize themselves to the negative experiences of the previous year. Of course, the result is that we begin the New Year with a painful hangover.
The good news, however, is that there are other ways of putting things behind us that do not require inebriation!
First and foremost, it is important to remember that, while we may hold on to our regrets and failures, our God does not:
“I have swept away your offenses like a cloud,
your sins like the morning mist.
Return to me,
for I have redeemed you.” (Isaiah 44:22)
If God is not hanging on to our past, why should we?
Second, Jesus invites us to lay down our burdens:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28–30)
Our souls need rest, not inebriation.
Finally, if you need to put things behind you but are feeling stuck, I highly recommend Vinita Hampton Wright’s book, Simple Acts of Moving Forward: 60 Suggestions for Getting Unstuck (Loyola Press). In the opening lines of that wonderful book, Vinita writes:
Most of us work hard, and we mean well. But we get stuck….The only way to get unstuck is to take a step. It can be a big or little step, and you usually have a choice of directions. But it’s an action with purpose behind it, and no one else can do it for you.
She goes on to provide 60 helpful suggestions in six categories:
- Acts of creativity
- Acts of daring
- Acts of generosity
- Acts of healing
- Acts of integrity
- Acts of joy
So, this New Year’s, allow yourself to move forward, knowing that you do not walk alone but are accompanied by the Holy Spirit, who invites all of us to a “holy intoxication” that only grace can produce.
May you have a happy and blessed new year!