Do you ever find yourself overwhelmed with new beginnings? As I was scrolling through Facebook seeing first-day-of-school pictures, new college-bound students setting up their dorm rooms, first-time moms holding their newborns, friends starting new jobs, fellow newlyweds…I couldn’t help but see the common ground: newbies.
Yesterday I passed a van plastered with “STUDENT DRIVER” in bold yellow letters. The teenage male sat perfectly postured with hands positioned at 10 & 2o’clock. I could almost feel his awkwardness driving a van and in the right lane going behind a veeeery slooow tow truck. I know he wanted recline the seat an inch, err…foot…roll the window down, throw an arm out the window with hand on the wheel, crank the music, and zoom past that tow truck. I gave him a sympathetic look that said, “Not yet son! You’ll soon impress all of your non-driving friends and feel the heart thumps of getting pulled for your first speeding ticket! But first, you must pass the test.”
Being a beginner is humbling, isn’t it?
Life right now feels like I have STUDENT DRIVER plastered on my forehead! I have a new husband, a new last name, a new city, a new home, a new job, a new workout routine, and even a new email address. (That last one might be a little trivial, but hey, it adds up!) For someone who resists change and can be as stubborn as a bull (can I get an amen, fellow Taurus people?!), 2015 has been a big ol’ dose of humble beginnings.
I’ve craved these changes and endeavors—for years actually. I’m over the moon to do everyday life with Michael and proudly introduce myself as “Shea Smith!” Our new home in Johnson City, TN is a sweet change living in the mountains and I am giddy for autumn leaves to do their magical thing. And for my new job, well, I am SO excited to share what I’m doing—it’s a dream come true! (To be announced soon, I promise!) But with each of these exciting new beginnings, I am like a baby learning to walk: stumbling, falling, bruising.
My newbie status rears its alarming flashers when I say something hurtful or act independently in our marriage. Learning to memorize new job material has me tongue tied and dazed. Navigating a new city has kept my GoogleMaps App busy. A new workout regime has left me so sore that welp, leg day twice a week has me walking funny!
The hard part about beginnings is that they remind us that we have a lot to learn and that we aren’t in control. Beginnings make us extremely uncomfortable because we want to be the one who has it all together. We want to be the expert, the leader, and the one who everyone else comes to for the answer. But before we are “that person”, we have to go through some tests.
Just like the student driver needing to pass the driving test and log some serious practice hours, the new student, new mom, new wife, new employee, new anything needs some grace to be a beginner.
As much as my personality gets antsy at being a newbie, I’m reminded that beginnings are the blank canvas for a creating something amazing. The very first line in the Bible opens with, “In the beginning God created…”
Beginnings give us the opportunity to create something beautiful! To shape a new path. To foster a new skill, trait, hobby, passion. To nurture life! The sweetness of a good God is that we are offered camaraderie in new starts. Ask Jesus about a humble beginning!
One of my favorite and most reassuring promises is found in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
If you’re a newbie starting something a little bigger than yourself, take a deep breath in the grace offered in humble beginnings. Remember that beginnings are the perfect space for new creations. Take heart that you are not alone and with a few aches, pains, tests, and a whole lot of patience, we will eventually get it. God’s strength is so great when we open ourselves to the Creator to shine in our weaknesses. And who knows, maybe we’ll even become the expert? 😉