Cattails, Rabbit Trails, and Thistlefish: "Fresh Start Grace": Believing that I have the choice to start over when I make mistakes

Monday, April 18, 2016

"Fresh Start Grace": Believing that I have the choice to start over when I make mistakes

By definition, beginnings should only happen once.
Beginning = the point in time or space at which something starts.
Start = come into being; begin or be reckoned from a particular point in time or space.
I know language is weird and we use phrases like "start over," "fresh start" and "begin again" all the time. But,
here's my question: Do I believe in fresh starts and new beginnings? 

I went to church with an attitude yesterday, for the sole and stupid reason that Jon and I left the house without my coffee, and then Starbucks got my order wrong (still convinced they forgot the coffee and just gave me coconut milk and caramel sauce).
To make matters worse, one of the first worship songs was one of those repetitive ones where you sing "I am free" over and over again. There is absolutely nothing wrong with those songs, btw, I just get irritated with them sometimes, especially when I am not "feeling it," or in one of those "jump up and down and spin and sing loudly and rejoice because God is good and I can feel it" kind of moods. I wasn't feeling free, I was feeling stuck, trapped, moody, tired, and selfish.

But the thing is, our freedom in Christ doesn't mean that we are going to "feel it" all the time, or have the jumpy, spinny, singy kind of response for it. Because this freedom is not just freedom from hell or eternal bondage, but it is a freedom to choose.
I'm not talking salvation at the moment, I'm talking beyond that.
I'm talking about those moments when you've started your day in a bad mood and feel committed to it.
I'm talking about those arguments that you stick with to the bitter end because of your pride.
I'm talking about the attitude you choose when Starbucks messes up your order because you're too stubborn to admit that it was a stupid thing to get upset over.

When I feel stuck in these attitudes, or feel committed to this "funk," what am I actually believing?
That I don't, or can't, get a fresh start.

Because the thing is these attitudes are choosing pride, stubbornness, and selfishness. When I feel like I have to stick with these attitudes - either out of guilt because I've clung to it so long, or because I think it's the only option - that is when I am not believing that I have another choice.

Here's my point: I do have another choice. I never have to feel stuck in my sin again, and this includes those obvious, outward sins, and those subtle, heart sins (like my bad attitude).
God's "Fresh Start Grace" does not just extend to the murderers and sexual immoral and the kind of people we consider "bad," but God's Fresh Start Grace also extends to those attitudes. God's Fresh Start Grace means that I never ever have to feel "stuck" in my attitude again, because I have an infinite amount of "do-overs" and paradoxical "new beginnings."

This doesn't mean everything is daisy-fresh all the time, because embracing this approach means youi need a hearty dose of humility. Most of the time my pride and stubbornness don't even want a fresh start! Sometimes I don't want to admit that God is bigger and better than me and that I am free from everything I struggle with! Sometimes I want to stick with my pride and say "No, my Starbucks drink is worth getting upset over! I should let it ruin my day!"

But praise God that His Fresh Start Grace extends to every sin and mistake before and after it occurs. Not only that, but it is a grace that is so great and so pure that it breaks the impossibility of only having one start or one beginning. In God's Kingdom, beginnings and re-starts happen all the time, and can happen the very second after I make my numerous mistakes.
If I choose it.
When I slip up in my pride and selfishness, I want to be a growing believer in the fact that I have the freedom to immediately accept His Fresh Start, do a 180, and can start over as if I hadn't yet made a mistake today. I want to be humble enough to give up my pride and stubbornness, and choose to receive His grace and His fresh start. I want to believe that God is big enough good enough to give me these unending fresh starts and new beginnings.

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