At my house we subscribe to Runner’s World magazine. Every year, the cover of the January issue has some version of that very hopeful headline: “New Year, New You!” or “Make This The Best Year of Your Life!” or “Run Your Way to Happiness This Year!” The headline is often followed with the promise of an easy to follow bullet list to make these great things happen: “Five tips for success,” or “Seven ways to make time for running and change your life,” “Four best ideas from our experts.” And, of course, the cover also has a picture of an attractive and thin young person, obviously running very fast and enjoying every minute of it.

I think these magazine covers work (in the sense that they sell more magazines) not because of the actual advice they give, but because they lead us to create very attractive self-images in our minds. Even without intending to do so, we imagine the person we want to be, and it is wonderful! And this magazine can help me feel that way!

With that in mind, here are some “New Year, New You,” tips from the Bible for 2016:

God loves you as you are!

Okay, yes, that’s only one tip. But, it is the only one you need to understand to have a fabulous 2016. You see, our faith doesn’t peddle a vision of a “new you” that you can create if only you had the will to do so. What we “peddle” is that when you fully and deeply realize that God loves you as you are, no matter what, then you are set free to become the person God would have you be – a person who can fully and deeply receive and carry the love of God. The point is that God does not help you become the person you want yourself to be. God helps you become the person God wants you to be. And in becoming the person God wants you to be, you find that it is WAY more satisfying than becoming the person you thought you wanted to be. In truth, there is nothing more wonderful in life. So, we all have one task to discover a “new me,” in 2016: Fully and deeply realize that God loves you as you are, no matter what. Alleluia!

A blessed new year to you!

Mike Solberg
Senior Minister
The Union Church of Hinsdale, U.C.C.

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