From the Century Dictionary:
Renew: (From Middle English “renewen”) “To make new again; restore to former freshness, completeness, or perfection; revive; make fresh or vigorous again; restore to a former state, or to a good state after decay or impairment.”

I don’t know about you, but I think it is time for renewal. 2009 was a year that was generally bad with the economy worsening and the individual economies of households across America suffering. And a rebound from the chaos of last year is slow at best, currently in progress. On a personal level, 2009 was a bad year, based on mistakes and a lack of certain accomplishments. And I feel I have pushed other parts of my life to a higher place than God with some choices I made.

But sitting around wallowing in guilt and shame will do no good. I know my life needs a “restoration to former freshness.” I try but cannot remember when life was better and I felt more peace. But I know there was a time when optimism ruled my heart. But I’ve sensed more recently that the optimism I used to feel has changed to more worry and doubt in my own abilities. And that’s just it. It’s not in my own abilities. It is only because of the grace of God I am alive and in the position I’m in.

Yes, 2009 was a year of moments of terrible mistakes and great successes. But I would say the greatest moment of 2009, one of the best anyhow, is that I was able to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Central Oklahoma in December. It was the end of a four-year and one semester phase of my life that was filled with many lessons learned the hard way and memorable moments with newly formed friends. But after all those mistakes, to walk the stage and receive my diploma was a great euphoric feeling.

But now it is 2010. The possibilities are endless, as long as I am willing to work to make them happen and trust in God completely. I am proud to have the privilege of working with ICPF for the coming Awake ’10 camp during Spring Break, with OPYF for the coming Annual Drama, and my church with a long list of things involving the youth group and Sunday School. I have only a tentative idea what will define my life past Spring Break week, but I am confident of one thing: my God is in control and He will guide my paths, as long as I let Him and don’t try to manipulate things into my own path and direction.

Don’t let the regrets of 2009 ruin your 2010. It has been on my mind endlessly, this message of having optimism for the new year. Because for me, it is difficult to get over the mistakes of last year. But we all need to take the approach of moving forward. This song by Israel Houghton should be the anthem for this year: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYaiGB7eYU8.

Don’t let Satan guilt you into letting 2010 be a bad year. Make a solid, firm decision to have hope and change your reality this year. If your reality last year was one of regret and mistakes, let 2010’s reality be one of being an overcomer. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S52FUX3QY_A). If you don’t make a move and don’t decide to allow the Holy Spirit to embolden and lift you up, you are making a choice nonetheless, to let Satan rule your heart. No matter what phase of life you are in, set specific goals to make this year a dramatic, life-changing year for yourself. And after you set those goals, seek the help of the Holy Spirit to boldly move forward in your life and live your life to the fullest with God by your side.

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