Now, this seems like such simplistic advice — it’s so obvious that it’s almost laughable. But when you stop and think about it, it’s true for lots of us that we cannot start fresh when we’re in the middle of something — or that because we’ve already messed up the beginning or have failed to accomplish the previous task, we’re sort of stuck into thinking we cannot just pick up and move on.
At the thrift store (or in my cabinet) I occasionally see notebooks or undated planners that have writing or notes in the first few pages. You know, like some mother had best intentions to start journaling or keeping a diary or baby-book or whatever and then “life” happened and entries didn’t continue. So, rather than just beginning (again) there — one of two things usually happens, the book is taken to the thrift store as a way of sort of gifting the problem book to someone else — that, or the previously written pages are torn out and the resolve to journal begins (again) there.
I know this because this has been my story in the past (actually I may do it again someday). But somewhere along the way I began to just write wherever I left off or in whatever journal/notebook was handy. I know this is a sort haphazard way of doing things and certainly messes up any semblance of order one might be seeking to achieve, but in the end, a written account is what’s desired and that’s what’s important. Get it written down and don’t get caught up so much in the process or presentation. Besides, the journaling is for your own mental sorting out and not for other’s opinions anyway.
So, wherever you are, begin (again) there. If you’ve got a notebook you first began using five years ago — and you filled only the first third of the book, it’s probably still got a lot of life left to it, so begin (again) there. Maybe you have a beautiful journal that you began using last year but quit on the 5th of January. Get it… start using it and begin (again) there. O, who cares if one year’s gone by. In the later pages you can sort out what went on in the interim. The point is that you can just begin (again) right where you are. Today.
Consider these verses from Philippians 3.8, 10,12-15
…that I may win Christ… That I may know him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death… Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus… Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
You see? wherever we are, we just need to begin (again) there. Here are some things I’ve been thinking about in this last week or so. No, I didn’t complete my Bible reading for the year (read through in a year). It’s only the enemy who seeks to put me in bondage, reminding me of my failure and relegating me to start back at the beginning (adding to my doubt that I might finish it this year). Instead, I need to just press on… I need to begin this year (again) right where I am. And should I finish reading through, I can begin again regardless what the calendar date is. And my beautiful journal? I can write in it today — regardless the date of the previous entry. You see, it’s just bondage — unnecessary bondage — to keep feeling like a failure or to keep giving up. Galatians 5.1 says:
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free,
and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
It’s early in the year and yet many are already feeling like failures for not keeping to “resolutions” or goals. Maybe you intended to lose those 20 or thirty pounds and you already feel like you’ve failed since you’ve continued in your holiday eating mode. Maybe you planned on getting up earlier, to start running, to stop being quickly angry, to keep your tasks done. And now, already, the fifth day of the year, you haven’t succeeded in achieving any of them and you feel like a failure. Be done with those feelings — they’re powerful and they paralyze — they’re not freeing at all — and you’ll never move ahead from where you are if you’re entangled by those failure-thoughts. Resolve that wherever you are today: begin (again) there. And tomorrow, wherever you are: begin (again) there.