It's the morning of December 31, 2010. New Year's Eve. The last day of the year. Tomorrow is January 1, 2011. New Year's Day. The first day of a new year...a new decade, in fact!
I'm sitting in a coffee shop as I write this. I've been here for two hours now, reading, writing, studying, praying over the last year and the year to come. I've also been observing. Observing the droves of people coming in and out for their morning holiday coffee. I don't know if the Brookhaven Starbucks is always this crowded on a Friday morning, but I suspect not.
I have observed: A guy about my age who seems to be considering law school. An older man not 18 inches away from me who is studying Mandarin Chinese. A woman in her running shoes, holding a newborn. And I wonder, are each of these people doing today what I am doing? Reflecting on the past year, preparing for the next? Are career changes or new languages or post-baby exercise routines a part of their New Year's resolutions, tangible reflections of their hopes and dreams for the new year?
And I look around at all the other people who are coming in and out, perhaps less distinct in their characteristics (to the observer like me), but tens, if not hundreds, of unique souls coming in and out of this Starbucks on New Year's Eve morning. And I find myself lost in thought now, with my mind wondering, what was your year like? Did 2010 rock your world or break your heart? What does your night have in store? And what will happen to you in 2011? What major life event is coming in the next 12 months that you have no idea about today, at 10:35am on December 31, 2010?
In my own life, 2010 was what I might call a pivotal year. A pivot..."the point on which a mechanism turns." I began life in a new city. I got settled into a new job. I moved into a new house with new roommates. I ran my first 5K and then my first 10K. I cried all the way to work every morning for about a month because I couldn't figure out my life in Atlanta. I went on a few bad blind dates, only to, out of nowhere, go on a really great first date that was followed by an even better second and fifth and tenth date and now I've lost count. I read "The Pursuit of God" by AW Tozer, which, to put it simply, changed my life. I can say - and I feel really blessed to say this - that my life today looks very different from my life a year ago. I am exceptionally grateful for that. For the pivot.
I don't know the stories of all the people around me. I wish I did. I wish I could ask each and every person here about their past year and the year to come. But as I observe their lives coming and going on this winter morning in Atlanta, I find myself praying for them the same prayer I pray for myself and for you. That the heartaches of 2010 would be redeemed for the glory of God. That the chains of sin and brokenness from the past year would be exchanged for the freedom of Christ in the one to come. That the next year would be one of forward progress, a year with the hope of Christ as an anchor for the soul. And that however life may pivot anew in 2011, it will pivot toward the goodness and holiness of God.
"This is what the LORD says—
he who made a way through the sea,
a path through the mighty waters:
'Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?'"
Happy New Year!
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