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New Year, New You


by Tina Yeager


Dust-spangled rays filter through the windows of last century’s textile mill into a gallery of restoration. The light blesses aisles of craftsmanship by highlighting the time-worn and renewed. Antiques considered common or worthless during the Great Depression now enjoy fresh purpose as works of art. Chippy brick walls embrace this menagerie of upcycled treasures.


My heart flutters as I step inside this vintage-to-valued allegory of redemption. I inspect a refinished lantern, a restored chest and slats of reclaimed barnwood leaning on display near the entrance. Once neglected and cast off, such battered material awaits new purpose. I relate to these unlikely works of art, for the ultimate Upcycler recognized my potential when I felt discarded and hopeless. Only the Redeemer’s hand could rebuild my scraps of failure into a model of encouragement. Christ remade me from the shadows of low self-worth into a bearer of light and guided me toward potential.


The throng of shoppers filling these halls reveals how our souls yearn for this message of restoration. As we stand at the threshold of 2023, our fading spirits crave hope. We long for a fresh start, another chance to shine with purpose, and a hint we might hold worth to someone. The light of a new life ahead beckons us to experience this very miracle.


Yet as we gaze across this horizon, the shadows behind us chill our feet. Our furtive glances down and backward send shivers through our dreams of tomorrow. Doubt creeps in to cloud away our motivation and restrain us. Facts nod in support of our hesitation to celebrate a New Year.


A recent era of crisis and depression has weathered our souls. Health issues eroded our once-vibrant joy. Anxiety splintered our peace, and many crumbled into depression. Isolation deepens our pain and leaves us facing impossible hardships without support. Mental Health America reveals one in five Americans suffered from mental illness in 2022. With the added pressure of financial crises, many fear the coming year as the stuff of nightmares instead of goal-focused dreams.


Instead of charging onward toward fulfillment, the circumstances tempt us to retreat into despair. We wait in our emotional cellars among frail cobwebs of hope for rescue. Some of us feel destined for nothing more than a landfill.


Worn and brokenhearted, we need the ultimate Salvager to offer us restoration. Our junky souls ache for a miracle from the One who sees more potential in us than we could ever imagine. Though troubled times clutch at our heels and darkness claws at our joy, we still wonder if something more could await us in the year ahead.


The light of our Savior anoints mere dust with the sparkle of His promises. Nothing can overshadow His power to make all things new. No matter how worn or chippy your heart, hope for renewal remains possible.


The Creator sees worth in our dusty and broken souls. He looks beyond our battered state toward a life recreated by divine power. Christ transforms the rubble of our messes into His mess-terpieces. He upcycles our shabby hearts and souls and makes us more beautiful and purposeful than we could ever have dreamed.


The ultimate Salvager blesses us with the message of restoration to share with those who need it in the cellars and ash-heaps around us.


As we venture into this new year, we can receive fresh purpose and offer glorious blessings to others. If we gather with our fellow upcycled treasures, we can experience restoration together. Communities of spiritual renewal have greater reach to share inspiration with those still awaiting redemption.


This message of “heart” work to upcycle our souls fills the pages of my newest project, Upcycled: Crafted for a Purpose. Insights and Scripture-centered questions guide readers toward renewal. Crafts involve our hands in the message and connect each growth moment from the mind into the heart. The projects allow groups to bond through mutual experiences. Learning and transformation circle to completion when we share our journeys with others. For this reason, each chapter also includes mission opportunities for individual or collective mess-terpieces to share with others in need of renewal.


As we step across this threshold of a new year, let us leave our shadows behind. Together, we can choose to receive our ultimate hope in place of despair. As ambassadors of this redemption message, we have the power to shine with the light of new life and inspire the world.


Award-winning author, speaker, life coach and licensed counselor, Tina Yeager hosts the Flourish-Meant podcast and manages Inkspirations Online, a devotional publication for writers. Tina also offers psychological manuscript reviews and an online course, Subdue Stress and Anxiety. Visit her at tinayeager.com for books and valuable resources. To hear the latest More to Life podcast with Tina, click here.

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