Constant in the Chaos
The new year is a blank canvas on which we paint the very best picture of ourselves — the version of ourselves we wish we could be. And I’m naturally one of those people who is always looking towards the next new thing: a move, a new notebook, a Monday morning, or literally anything resembling a new beginning. I have this idea that once I reach the next stage, then I will have made it; will have time to rest; will be a better person. Every new year starts with the same feeling of relief — finally, a clean slate to try again after failing so hard last year. But as the year progresses, I’m reminded of the fact that I am a complete and utter mess — unreliable in every sense of the word. My mood is affected by the weather and how much caffeine I’ve had that day. I happily extend grace to someone who wronged me one day and then feel personally victimized by the person who cut me off in traffic the next. Some days I’m a beacon of optimism and then I’ll spend the next few months in a season of anxiety because...well, hormones.
All of this to say that I look at any new experience as my chance to finally get it right – to be perfect and have the perfect year — only to be disappointed in myself. But I’m slowly learning to practice grace and gratefulness. Grace for myself and my clumsy humanity, and gratefulness that God is the opposite of that. He is consistent in his faithfulness and enduring in his love for me, and that is the only thing that I can and should look ahead to. But I don’t need a new beginning or new year for that — he already is, has been, and will be.
When facing something new, some of us feel excitement while others are overcome by anxiety. Sometimes we know what’s ahead and are filled with joy, while other times we know we’re walking into a hard season and it feels impossible. But in the midst of all the change and in the hurricane of the unknown, God is constant — he is faithful. To the person who is in a season of thankfulness and joy — revel in it. Savor and remember these blessings and the closeness you feel with God because you are guaranteed to enter seasons of drought. Let these moments serve as bookmarks in your life so that when you’re feeling far away, you can always refer to the chapter where God felt so intimately close. And to the person facing an intimidating season, I’ll say this: God is no farther from you now than he is on your best days. He is just as close to you and concerned about your wellbeing as he ever has been.
Your feelings may fluctuate and circumstances may shift, but God is not tethered nor bound by either of those. Your shame does not hide you from God, your anger does not drive him away, your misfortune does not negate his desire to bless you, nor does your happiness make him move any closer to you. He is and always will be right here, fully available, and 100% loving you. He is who he has always been and we can walk into uncharted waters with the confidence that whatever comes our way — good or bad — will not change who He is or what he wants to do in us. I hope that reminder brings you peace as it does me as we navigate this new year and the new mysteries it brings.
Chantell Marlow is a mother to daughters, Maddox and Remi, a wife to Chase, and is a designer of all things visual. She can usually be found with a coffee and checklist in hand, a baby at the hip, and a bucket full of creative projects to take on if only there were 10 extra hours in a day.