Way back in January, most of us were excited to begin a new year and a new decade. Typically, January means a “fresh start” and “clean slate.” It is filled with hope for good things to come.
There was something even more exciting than usual about entering 2020. It seemed so monumental.
I recall a member of my women’s group suggesting that we choose a word for 2020. This is not a unique practice; many people select a word, phrase, or Bible verse to guide their year. Similarly, in January, we set goals and dreams for the year ahead.
Hope Derailed, Hope Restored
Do you remember your word of the year, hopes, and dreams for 2020? My word was “stand.” But by March, I had long forgotten it.
So far, 2020 has been completely unprecedented. I don’t need to list the myriad of trials we have faced. We have had to navigate uncharted waters, and as a result, our goals, dreams, peace, and natural rhythms of life have been completely disrupted.
Our Lord never promised an easy life. In fact, He assured us that we would experience trial and tribulation. But He also promised that He would always be with us, right in the middle of every mess, difficulty, and struggle.
Our Lord never promised an easy life. But He also promised that He would always be with us, right in the middle of every mess, difficulty, and struggle. #BISblog // Click To Tweet
I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world! // John 16:33
His Presence is Our Hope
All over Scripture and within our beautiful Catholic Tradition, God reminds us of His presence. Our God calms the storm. He leads us beside green pastures. He removes unnecessary burdens. The Lord promises a lighter, freer path. His Heart beats in every Tabernacle in every Catholic church across the globe.
When reminded of this, fall seems like the perfect time to reclaim our hope in Christ. No matter what 2020 has brought us so far, let’s remember our words of the year, our goals, and our dreams for 2020.
Yes, my friends, let’s hit the reset button and begin anew.
Fall = Fresh Start
Many of us naturally equate fall with a fresh start. We begin using a new planner, we prepare ourselves or our children for a new academic year, and we refresh our wardrobes and home decor.
Reset 2020 in 3 Simple Steps
Perhaps we can take this fresh start one step further by resolving to renew our spirits, too. Let’s utilize the month of September as a time to pause, reprioritize, and choose peace, calm, and hope for the remainder of 2020.
1. Pause to pray.
If prayer has fallen by the wayside, or if your faith feels like it is fizzling, fall is a beautiful time to renew your prayer routine.
- If you selected a word, theme, or Bible verse in January, it’s time to reclaim it. You may be surprised by how powerfully, even prophetically, it speaks into all the unexpected events of 2020.
- For the remainder of the year, pray with a new Bible verse that offers you whatever you need most from the Lord right now. (Search “Bible verses” on the BIS website for ideas.)
- Refresh your prayer routine by discovering a new devotion:
Life can feel overwhelming and even out of control. Especially recently. With so much going on in the outside world, we can easily lose sight of what is truly important to us.
We read in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 that “for everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Fall is a wonderful time to take this Scripture passage to heart.
This month, let’s ask ourselves a series of questions, in light of this passage from Ecclesiastes, in order to reprioritize what matters most:
- What season am I in? What is it time for? Is it time for renewal? If so, what must die, in order for new life to grow?
- Is it time to plant seeds, lay down roots, and hunker down? Or is it time to harvest, to step up in an area that I’ve been neglecting?
- Is it time for healing, building, and restoring?
- What is important to me right now?
- What do I want my days and weeks to include?
- What is God inviting me into?
3. Begin anew.
After prayer, reflection, and discernment, choose things that bring peace, calm, and hope to your life. Implement tangible practices that nurture your body, mind, and spirit, in order to safeguard against anxiety, fear, and doubt, which only desires to damage and destroy our precious wellbeing.
- Step one is to adopt a renewed prayer routine.
- Next, return to good habits of sleep, nutrition, family time, work, and leisure.
- Fall is an ideal time to cultivate a practice of gratitude. Consider not only what you are thankful for but why. How does this change your perception of life?
Do Not Lose Heart
My dear sisters in Christ, even in the midst of the hardships, difficulties, and uncertainties that have defined 2020, all is not lost. We can still experience the peaceful promises of God, and we can learn how to hold onto them, even when our world feels like it is spinning out of control.
We may not know when the hard stuff will go away—and we can count on more hard stuff to follow—but we never have to wait for things to magically get better to pray, reprioritize, and begin anew. Because when we resolve to hit the reset button and start fresh, we can count on God’s grace to bless us with peace, joy, and the courage to testify to His immeasurable love for us, His beloved daughters.
So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. // 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
How are you starting fresh this fall?
The Fresh Start Season // 3 Ways to Begin Again #BISblog // Click To Tweet