Thursday, January 15, 2015

New Year, New Beginnings

Photo courtesy of Arvind Balaraman
I love the anticipation of what a new year may bring. There’s something about the change in year heralding something new, fresh and vibrant in one’s life. As I only read last night in RELEVANT magazine, the new year offers a "psychological reset button."

I make a point of taking some time out to reflect on the year past and what is ahead. I typically will set some goals across all aspects of my life. My wife and I will do likewise to ensure we understand hopes and dreams plus identify specific targets for such things as home improvements, holidays, leisure activities and such like.

Interestingly, I find as we set off into January and pick up where we left off before the holidays, some or even a lot of that new year ‘spring’ has departed. I get immersed in the stuff of life.

Big Change

But the first few months of this year will be very different from those of recent years. My wife and I are relocating from Sydney to Melbourne in the next few weeks. Fiona has taken up a new role with her employer that is best served from the Melbourne Head Office.

Never having done such I’m expecting it to be a fairly big change. With new home and new city come new perspectives. There’s an absolute thrilling aspect to discovering all the many “new” things: neighbours, friendships, churches, jobs, restaurants, dog walks, the list goes on.

Yes, there is the humdrum of the move: finding a house that will take us and our two pups, packing up, unpacking and so on.

Then there’s the sadness of what we leave behind. Two adult kids, to start with, leaving us as earlier than expected empty nesters.


Big changes can sometimes consume us and take too great a place in our minds. I know whenever I’ve changed jobs or had other significant change I have often grappled with being overly absorbed in the “new”.

And it’s at those times I’ve often taken my eyes off the Lord. Especially if my normal routines have been impacted, for example, leaving home earlier in the morning. Times spent with the Lord become rushed and the “dark woods of self-fulfillment” begin to take on a greater presence providing us with nourishment for the new journey.


This year amongst all the upheaval I’d like to be more intentional about keeping Jesus as the guest of honour in my heart so as to keep those dark woods from encroaching.

“Henri Nouwen once asked Mother Teresa for spiritual direction. Spend one hour each day in adoration of your Lord, she said, and never do anything you know is wrong. Follow this, and you’ll be fine.”1

It struck me on reading that I don’t spend much time on adoring the Lord. I’d like to get better at it, if such is possible.

I love how Sara Hegarty describes it:

“Adoration is breathing deeply of who He is and exhaling purity. It’s training my mind and my heart to look up.”

Okay, so there’s training involved. I’m up for it. Maybe not an hour a day, but we’ll see. I’m not sure what that looks like other than meditating on the Psalms, but I sensed “ADORE” should be my Word for 2015.

I’ll report back during the year with my progress. Be delighted if you keep me accountable to that too.

Anyone else doing something “BIG” in 2015? Birthing something new?

What practical steps do you take in adoration of the Lord? I’d love some suggestions.

Wishing all of the ICFW tribe a blessed 2015.

Notes: 1. Desire by John Eldredge, Thomas Nelson, 2007.

Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Northern Sydney. Ian's first novel of speculative fiction, Angelguard, is now available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter


  1. Hi Ian,
    I wish you both all the best for your big move from Sydney to Melbourne. It's a significant year for you indeed. I hope you'll enjoy the lifestyle so much further south. And I wish the same for your kids in Sydney, having to live without you as close.
    I like the idea of January being a 'psychological reset button' and think I need to join you on that adoration quest. Happy 2015.

    1. Thanks Paula. Maybe we should make a note to check in on each other to see how we're going with our adoration quest.


  2. All the best for your move, Ian. I have done this so often, and I find it such a disruption in my writing life. All the best in your quest for adoration time.

    1. Thanks, Shirley. I might seek your wisdom if I begin to struggle. Yes, I'm already grappling with focus on my WIP and factored this in my writing goals. But I may have been too optimistic, me thinks.

  3. Loved this post, Ian. Especially the words of Mother Teresa. How stunningly simply and yet profound. Praying for your family in this huge change, that it will be a blessing! Our big 'move' in 2015 is a sabbatical our board granted us for the last half of the year. It will be filled with moving our son back to the US and into school amongst a few other things, but I'm praying that it will also be a time of much needed rest, renewal, and a deeper focus on Him. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks for your encouragement and prayers, Lisa.

      It's exciting you get to go home for the last half of 2015. May it be a blessed time for you all and your son as he settles into a new school. No doubt we'll hear more about your plans as the year unfolds.

      What I'm learning from my 2 weeks on an adoration quest is that it helps start the day with a focus on Jesus so that there's more of Him and less of me. Henri Nouwen also talks about turning one's inner monologue into a dialogue with Jesus which too is profound.

  4. Hi Ian, All the best for your big move. I'm originally a Sydney girl who did my first interstate move to Melbourne. A lovely city, and I'm sure you'll enjoy the change of scenery :)

    1. Thanks, Narelle. And you're a Northern beaches girl aren't you? That's where I live at present. Yes, looking forward to Melbourne.

  5. God bless you and your wife in all sorts of unexpected ways, as you move to Melbourne for a while, Ian. Melbourne always seems a 'writery' kind of city to me, so maybe your work in progress will come along in leaps and bounds.

    I also think that word 'adore' is an excellent word for the year--and I reckon the Psalms are a great place to start. Love Nouwen's thought too re turning that monologue into a dialogue with God, which is what I endeavour to do a lot ie read Scripture, perhaps jot something in my journal, pray and listen to what Jesus would want to say too. Still learning though!