Samaritan Counseling Center
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January 8, 2024

Entering my office, you are greeted by a picture with a caption reminding us of an important truth: “What appears to be the end, may really be a new beginning.” We are often more focused on the year behind us than the new one which is beginning to blossom before us. Which of these can we most influence? Have you ever searched the Internet for “new beginnings?” There are thousands of organizations that proclaim new beginnings as a part of their name, but can any one of these organizations give you “a new beginning?” Some may help give us direction, but unless we are ready to declare our readiness to make a new beginning from right now, little change will occur in our lives.

Are you beginning this new year grieving the loss of a loved one or a broken relationship? Are you struggling with financial trials during these difficult times? Are you feeling overwhelmed from the stress of a relationship or job? Are you willing to believe it is possible to change your thoughts from the helplessness and frustrations you feel to one of hope as you face a new beginning? Can you begin to see these challenges as “life’s detours” and not “life’s dead ends.”

Paul affirms this in 1 Corinthians 10:13 (MSG): “No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.”

Let me offer three suggestions you might want to consider as you spring forth into this new year.

  1. Celebrate the victories along the way. You may not be where you want to be, but are you further along the path today than you were a year ago, or even a month ago? If so, celebrate the process. Celebrate the obstacles you have already overcome. You do not have to wait until you reach your destination.
  2. Give more grace to yourself and others. You will not please some people, or succeed in completing some tasks, but that does not make you a failure. It is not unusual to experience unrealistic expectations from others, and we are even more likely to place unrealistic expectations upon ourselves. Remember what Anne Sullivan taught Helen Keller: “Keep on beginning and failing. Each time you fail, start all over again, and you will grow stronger until you have accomplished a purpose — not the one you began with perhaps, but one you’ll be glad to remember.”
  3. Consider that the roadblocks you have been experiencing may be God’s way of telling you it is time to consider another path. Take time to evaluate the roadblock to see if it is self-imposed by a lack of self-confidence, or if you have not been patient to explore other directions or a better time to move ahead.

New beginnings do not begin just at the start of a new year, the beginning of a new day, or at the beginning of a new week. New beginnings start when we decide to no longer be trapped by the chains of the past and proclaim the freedom of a new day and a new adventure. As we look towards a new beginning, Paul directs us to “focus on this one thing: “Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Philippians 3:13-14)

Rev. Dr. Lennie Howard has been a Licensed Professional Counselor for 32 years, and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist for 21 years.

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The Samaritan Counseling Center (SCC) is here to provide healing. A not-for-profit organization, we’re committed to providing fully-integrated, high quality, team-oriented, cost-efficient counseling and educational programming.

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