A Clean Slate
When spring semester starts in a couple of weeks, we are starting a sermon series at work about redemption and what that looks like as a college student. A slew of people around me are going through major life shifts as this year comes to a close. It seems like the end of 2013 is pointing me in a direction of change seeing as how it is surrounding me— I am drowning in a sea of other people’s progress. I feel pressure to start over in a sense. It is, after all, a new year. But when I step back and examine it all, I have to ask, is such an extreme transformation what I need right now?
Human beings are constantly working toward the next opportunity for a clean slate. Typically, we see these as clear-cut events in time: moving away to college, starting a new job, starting a family. We (or I guess I should say me instead of speaking for everyone else) constantly strive for the next opportunity to reinvent, to improve, to make basic changes to our essential selves. But the more and more I think about it lately, these mile-markers are hardly clean slates, but grander culminations of our past playing into the new parts of who we are becoming.
We bring so much of our past into our future— it is inevitable. While at first glance this seems so detrimental and weighty, it proves quite the opposite: it is SO beautiful. It is vital to my development as a person, as a woman, as a child of God to consider the places I’ve been— not to totally forget them and discount them as an unworthy part of my future.
That being said, there are certainly parts of my past that I would just as soon crumple up in a ball like a piece of scrap paper and aimlessly toss into a pile of bad choices. But even these darker, harder to face aspects of who we are or decisions we have made or even things that we had no control over are all in the making to take us somewhere greater in the days, weeks, and years to come.
I asked one of my closest friends a while ago if she thought people could fundamentally change. Being a very deep thinker, she took a minute to reply. “I think people are changing every second. Every second, you learn something you didn’t know before then. So yeah, I think people are always changing.” With God, there is endless opportunity for change. I just don’t think we should think of this change as forgetting where we have been.
I write this mostly for myself, to affirm that I won’t look to 2014 as a year for a slate wiped totally clean of the person I have been, but a chance to turn my past into positivity in what lies ahead. I challenge you to do the same.