She hangs her new sweater from her aunt in her closet, next to the new favorite pair of jeans she bought with the Christmas money grandma sent. I suggest coordinating the bright new scarf  from her cousin. And I get an eye roll.

I should know better than to make wardrobe suggestions to my chic teen. I’ll just pull up my elastic-waist mom jeans and move along.

The next day, I hear my 13 year old  complain she has nothing to wear to church.

I mention the lovely new things hanging in her closet. “But mom, they are new. I want them to last.”

And then I consider The Eye Roll.

Instead I laugh because I totally get her excuse. It’s part of our culture, this world that offers new car fragrance spray at the carwash. We love new. New is perfect, clean, never been used. We save up, negotiate, bargain for new things. New is untarnished by old and not impacted by mistakes, time or distress.

There’s nothing wrong with new, especially when it’s valued in relation to the old.

As we enter this brand new shiny year, we can get the most out of it by abiding by a few principals:

Enter it with gratitude: No matter how we leave the old year, we should offer thanks for it. We should express gratitude for another year of loving God and our families. Even on hard days, we can choose gratitude. We will never regret thankfulness. It’s a seed that blossoms into fruit that fills us with joy.

Focus: I’m not much into making resolutions. I feel like I’m setting myself up for failure (perhaps I just know myself well). If you choose goals or resolutions, try to narrow it down to a simple focus. Our family likes to choose a word for the year, a word we need more of (last year was faith) or one we want to show (like gratitude). However you enter this new season, focus on tangible ways to achieve what you’re after. Small steps that will lead you to a new place.

Grow into it: I like to buy my kid’s clothes off-season. It saves money, but I have to buy bigger sizes because they keep growing. Often the year ahead can seem daunting. How will I achieve my goals? What will happen if? The questions loom. We can worry and fret or we can just take a step and grow by grace into all He has waiting for us. Healthy things grow.

New things are exciting! Who doesn’t love something fresh, tied up in a big red bow? But when I reflect on my daughter’s words about her clothes in the closet, it’s the disappointment I hear most. It’s the question mark that is hanging when the new is gone and we are left with what we have.

It’s there we discover our two choices: contentment or depression.

Because in truth, something new really brings something that will become old. And when the tags are gone and the new car smell fades, we are left with what we started with. It’s the perfect opportunity to be content in all things: whether good or bad, new or old. When we put on the New Year, we are given the chance to reflect Him.

And Christ in our hearts never gets old!

Written by Kristen Welch, We are THAT family

  • Elise Albert

    Thanks you for this timely post! I asked the Lord to give me a ‘word’ for the New Year and it was ‘contentment’.

  • Penny

    Thank-you Kristen for putting this all into such an amazing perspective.

    I myself find that I enjoy mixing things up by combining something old with something new.Be it home or fashion.Then again some things in life are “Timeless”.

    This year I am going to try as you say to be content with what I have and appreciate how blessed I am.

  • Debra

    Thanks for your post, Kristen. Your words resonate with me, and I would imagine so many today. In so many ways/areas. The way that we look at “new” is simply perspective. Our society has made “new” a must in many areas of life. In dealing with my 14-year-old grandson, and other children/young people, something old will not do, unless it’s of course the new vogue – ” vintage.” Children make fun of others if they do not have new. It spills over in all of our lives from the young to the old. A matter of prayer for me. Thank you.

    I, too, chose one word this year. It is charity. As to the very subject of your post, I stand in need of charity – love for humankind so much; like Jesus does. As I grow in grace and deepen my understanding of charity’s role in my new year, I hope to take this age-old basic character trait and resurrect it in my life anew.

    Blessings ~Debra

  • Heather

    So true, it’s the same the world over. Very insightful and inspirational. God love never changes- it is new every morning. 2013 will be a year to focus on His love, be content and rely on His provision.