It’s that time of year again. We all see the statuses and hashtags flooding all the timelines of our social media. “Bye 2017 and all of your troubles....2018 is the year of change! #newyearnewme”. Seems like 2018’s middle name is 2017, and use to go by the alias 2016, whose childhood nickname was 2015, because this new year new me craze has been going on and on and on and....you catch the drift. While I understand the sentiment and appreciate attempts at reinventing oneself, I often question, what does this phrase actually mean?
Let’s break this down.
New Year – now this seems simple. It’s no longer 2017. From 12:00am January 1st 2018 we celebrated the dawn of a new 365. For many however this is more than just hanging the new glossy calendar they got from HiL... I mean Massy Stores. It is the opportunity to start afresh or turn over a new leaf. It comes as a reset button, bringing the counter back to zero and getting an opportunity and optimism to do any and everything we never had the chance to in the past. As Christians we naturally gravitate and thrive on opportunities like this as the idea of redemption is engrained in our lives. Jesus came to earth to forgive our sins, to give us the opportunity to turn our counters back to zero and start a new life in him. The idea of a new opportunity therefore is something that has always ranked high. Even if we don’t all say it, a new year and the refreshing reset it brings always makes us grateful for seeing each new year.
New Me – time to get down to the real nitty-gritty. This is where many people start calling out others on their #newyearnewme status or tweet. I remember once reading one Facebook rant about the writer’s disgust with these “fake people” who really just post these statuses “for the likes and show up ting”. Jane Doe went on to lambaste these users as she believed they simply post a status and come January 2nd they revert to their old ways. While my sentiments as to the ‘new me’ trend may not be as strong or as bold as Jane’s I do believe that she may be onto something.
Around this time we see many with these long lists of 2018 goals – the infamous New Year Resolutions. Common entries such as the “I gonna lose weight this year” resolution, or the “This year I’ll be a nicer person” and even the “See all that procrastinating and laziness #stayin2017” make the list year in year out. The problem is however, as Jane said, majority of persons don’t stick to these resolutions.
Now before we jump on our high horses and get ready to turn up our noses at these persons who claim to be the “new me”, let us examine ourselves. Don’t we all look back to things of the past that are not always the best for us? They may not be Facebook worthy bad habits, but any lingering on the past defies the idea of the “new me”. In Luke 24:5 the angels in Jesus’ tomb made one of the most profound revelations, “Why seek ye the living among the dead?” Why do we look for life in things that have already passed? Anything that is dead cannot give life nor has a future so why waste energy on it.
Galatians 5 goes on to list things that are dead and give no life, but surely this list is not exhaustive. Simple things in our daily lives such as bad relationships, ‘frenemies’, lingering past incidents or circumstances can also be considered dead, so why do we look for life in them?
As we face this new year remember that the past has already occurred and change is only possible in the future. Life is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present. In cherishing this gift, our attempts at a fresh start must be more than just lip-service, that “new me” does not come without leaving the past behind and effecting real change. Change is never easy, but never forget that any man that is in Christ is a new creation – with God anything can be done.
Shanae Chin Aleong (IVCF HWLS Exec 2015-2016)