I’d always seen it as a word demanding action, resolution, a shedding of my former self to chase a “better” self. “This New Year,” shouted the world, “will be the answer to what ails you!”
This year, I wasn’t buying it. For too many years I’d made an idol of the arbitrary turning over of the clock, chasing the superficial lie that each new year should deliver more comfort and less suffering. If not? The lacking must be my own shortfall in adequate fitness, greater organization, and better habits—all supposed solutions for the deep, untouched longing inside.
“For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world.” (1 John 2:16-17).
In the end, I’d only gained a quiet wisdom that enticements don’t fulfill and my willpower falls short.
But in coming to the end of myself, I met the One Whose power is more than enough; He who is present in each new day, He Who single-handedly makes all things new.
I’d known about the Lord, built my life around Him, for as long as I could remember. But my innermost heart was a holdout. And as I found myself craving a newness that the shiny and superficial could never touch, His answer whispered truth.
Authentic newness is only born of real relationship with Him.
It’s taken a slow and steady diet of time in the presence of His healing heart to break through to the depths of mine. He’s pursued me through Scripture and Adoration, through the Sacraments of regular Confession and the Eucharist. He’s led me on the journey (see 1 John 2:12-14) from the spiritual childhood of tasting His mercy to the spiritual adulthood of truly knowing Him.
And the most beautiful gift in knowing Him is that He helps me to know myself.
In the deepest truth of our identity, He teaches that newness is not about escaping ourselves or becoming like someone else, but becoming more and more the beautiful person He’s made us to be all along.
The notes from this talk address the Blessed Sacrament as the greatest need in the Church.
Megan Hjelmstad is a wife and mom 24/7 and an Army Reservist in her “spare” time. She is the Stories Manager for the Blessed is She Instagram account. She’s a bibliophile, tea drinker, sleep lover, and avid admirer of Colorado’s great outdoors. She is a contributing author to our children's devotional prayer book called Rise Up. When the writing bug hits, you can find out more about her here.