Are You Starting Over Again and Again and Again?

Ahhh, the illusion of starting over.

This week, I’ve had to rebuild my social network by starting a new profile on Facebook. It’s an inconvenient but minor experience of starting over. I’ve had bigger experiences of beginning again, as have many others.

College. Graduation. Moving. New church. New friends. New job. No job. New marriage. Divorce. Rehab. Treatment. Illness. Recovery. Loss. Bankruptcy. Babies. Promotion. Prison. Release.

Life is full of starting over – sometimes we choose to start over and sometimes starting over is thrust upon us as we cry, vomit, kick, scream and cling to the bedcovers. Starting over can be exhilarating or devastating depending on the circumstances. We can approach the new beginning with hope or with dread.

What’s vital is to approach any start over with God.

So, I’m still thinking about Noah and the flood. I mean, that’s got to be the second biggest start over in world history, right? God used his giant eraser on every living thing and said “Scratch that. I’ll begin again.”

It was so terrible, He promised never to flood the world again. Noah is the most righteous man on earth and he and his family see first-hand what steps God is willing to take to punish evil and yet, only a couple chapters along in Genesis and their ancestors are building a tower thinking they can be their own gods.

To me, the message of the flood is that we can change our location, we can even change the cast of characters but we can’t escape the sin we carry inside us like a virus that infects everything we touch, everywhere we go.

We still try to flood our own lives. This church is broken; I’ll find a new one. This relationship failed; I’ll find another. This company is full of people who know nothing; I’ll go somewhere else.

Funny how when we get there, many of the same problems await us. Funny how often we neglect to see ourselves as the common denominator in each scenario.

It’s not like I don’t believe there is a time for starting fresh. I’ve moved on sometimes and found it was absolutely the right move. There were other instances when God called me to leave things behind and it was right. Other times, change was forced upon me and I had to go with it whether I liked it or not but God worked it together for good.

What I try to remember from scripture is that the most effective, earth-shattering, cosmic starting over place is the work of redemption and sanctification in my own heart.

See, the BIGGEST starting over place for the planet was the cross and the empty tomb. This was like God saying, “I won’t wipe them out again. Life is precious because I made it in My image. What I’ll do is make a way for them to be changed from within, to become new creations, to be redeemed.”

We don’t invite the redemptive work of Christ into more places in our lives. We move on too easily. We believe the lie that salvation lies in a new church, a new marriage, a new friendship. But, it’s only right to move on when the Spirit of God says to move on.

When we must remain, we have the same power that brought Jesus back from death to life living within us and it is this power on which we can call to start over right where we stand. It is not really our physical location that makes the difference as it is the location of Christ in our lives, our hearts and our minds that is the key.

The Kingdom of God is the Kingdom come. We are not only redeemed for life in heaven someday, we are redeemed for life on earth NOW. That doesn’t mean we’ll be perfect but it does mean that the power of the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ can make us more like Him every single day.

We can invite that power into our churches – even if they are dead. We can invite that power into our families, our friendships and our places of work even if failure sits in every corner. We can invite that power into our inner lives even if we’ve failed repeatedly.

We don’t ask too much from God. Most days, we don’t ask enough because our faith is weak and our imaginations are crippled from the bondage of our lives.

Where are you feeling the need for a cleansing flood in your life? Where is your heart pleading for a do-over, an escape hatch, an off-ramp? Take it to Jesus Christ today.

Maybe His answer is to move on and He will release the floodgates but maybe His answer is to take it to the cross and allow the powerful work of redemption to save resurrect that which you think is ready to be buried forever. Maybe the starting over place is right inside of you.

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1 Comment

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  1. Andrea says:

    Great post and one I needed to hear. Obstacles sometimes frustrate me, too much. I need to leave them at HIS feet.