Happy New Year, Covenant Family!
As we begin a new year, there is often a conversation about "new beginnings" and "fresh starts." We sometimes use language like "leaving the past behind us" and "moving on." But in real life, this is actually rarely possible. More often than not, life is more like a tell.
A tell is an archaeological phenomenon which can be found primarily in the Middle East. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tell_(archaeology)) Locations for Ancient Near Eastern cities would be built would be chosen for very important reasons - perhaps because of a nearby water source, or maybe because of proximity to a trade route. But when one city failed - because of natural phenomena such as famine or because it was conquered - the location would remain a vital spot for a city. The new people would build their new city on top of the refuse and remains of the previous city. And when that "new" city fell, another new people would come along and build on the same site. The result is large mounds filled with layer after layer of archaeological gold mines where with the right tools, training, and patience lessons about thousands of years of human history can be unearthed.
As we move into the new year, many of us look forward to what new things will be built in our life. But it's important for us to recognize that those new things will be built on what is left of the old. Depending on how we deal with the old, this can be a good thing or it can be a bad thing. If we simply pretend the old isn't there, any new thing built on top of it is likely to tumble and fall because it will be on a wobbly foundation. If we are going to build properly we need to be open to processing what has been, dealing with it properly, and therefore creating a solid foundation for what will be in the future. Sometimes "what has been" has taken place in recent months or years. Other times, it is decades old "stuff" (sometimes even generations old "stuff") that we've never dealt with.
I want to encourage you, as we look forward to what is to come in 2019, to be willing to look back in order to build a solid foundation for what will be. Here are some ways that might help you to look back in order to go forward:
- Maybe you simply need to re-dig into the past stories of God's people in the Bible in order to lay the groundwork for what it looks like to be his beloved child today.
- Maybe you need to call up some friends and talk about some of the things you're carrying and get some wisdom for how to process them well.
- Maybe there is something between you and someone else, which has been left unspoken and ignored and you need to walk through the process Jesus talked about in Matthew 18:15-17 in order to bring healing or at least resolution to the situation.
- Maybe you need to participate in our Emotionally Healthy Spirituality course, which invites participants to think intentionally about their life with God, the messages they've received from their past, and how to lay a solid foundation for moving forward.
- Maybe things are deep enough that you need to speak to a counselor who is trained and experienced at helping people process what has been so that they can be healthy moving into what will be.
I hope and pray that 2019 will be an amazing year for you as you lean into all that God longs for you to be and do in Christ. I pray that your foundation in Jesus will be solid and that the house built on it will be strong and firm.