When I opened my laptop the other day, I realized that I’d failed to close several tabs from the night before. In addition to ten Word documents, the internet search engine was still open. But the message at the top caught my attention because it said, “Page was not reloaded because it was using significant energy.” I was impressed by the computer’s analytical ability to determine that it should not reload the page in question because it would deplete its energy. If only we could just as easily decide when we should not reload particular thoughts or memories because they take too much of our precious energy.
Instead, we often waste our energy reliving, rethinking, and reanalyzing the past that we cannot change. Or, we spend significant time plotting, planning, and pretending we have control over the future in order to fend off an all-consuming fear of what might happen. Sometimes, we feel we can’t determine how we spend our mental and emotional energy. And while depression or anxiety at times may influence us, we can choose whether we expend our energy on positive or negative thoughts and emotions many times. What harmful pages in our heart and minds do we reload regularly, wasting our reserves of energy?
As we enter a new year after enduring one that challenged everyone and devastated some, the familiar words of the Lord replay in my mind: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. . . . Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” Isaiah 43:1-3 & 18-19. God reassures us that we belong to God and that God is with us when, not if, we go through terrible situations. God asks us to look forward to the new things that God will bring to us and not dwell on the past. I’ve found comfort in these verses during some tough times in my life. In the midst of facing those challenges, I clung to the promise that God would hold me up and bring me to a new place eventually.
Perhaps in this new year, we can resolve to be more aware of where we direct our energy. Do we spend our efforts dwelling on the past, reloading the pages that damage our psyches? Or can we spend our energy focusing on the good things we have in life, practicing gratitude, and hoping for a brighter tomorrow? This won’t always be easy. But if we become more conscious in following God’s direction to set our minds on the new and wonderful things God will do, then we might find that our energy is renewed and becomes a reservoir that sustains us. Thanks be to God.