Monday. The beginning of a new week. I don’t know how that makes you feel? I’m sure some of us start our Mondays thinking “Yes! A new week!” while others think, “Ugh, another week!” Even those of us who temperamentally lean towards the former response have weeks that push us towards the latter! I think there’s a real difference between the two mindsets, and I’ve been pondering this in anticipation of today.
I’m excited about this particular day and this particular week, because today is my first day out of isolation, having been positive for COVID for the last 10 days or so. (Helen says it’s the most consistently positive I’ve ever been!) So I woke up this morning feeling energised. This isn’t just another day; it’s a new day. It’s not just another week; it’s a new week.
I have quite literally been counting down the days until today, and there are many things – some tiny, some much larger – for which I am grateful this Monday, which I took for granted last Monday.
- Today I get to hug my wife and daughter for the first time in 10 days.
- Tonight I get to sleep in my own bed, instead of on a rickety fold-out thing.
- Today I get to choose my own clothes, rather than wear whatever is left outside my door for me. (Realistically, this may mean I end up worse dressed than when my wife chooses my clothes for me, but it’s a little freedom I’m celebrating nonetheless.)
Today I am conscious that I am entering this week with a sense of anticipation that’s different from how I start most weeks. This isn’t just another Monday, but a new Monday.
There’s a huge difference between these two mindsets. And whilst most weeks I don’t have anything nearly as concrete as an emergence from isolation to focus my expectations, I know that I do have a degree of choice over how I approach my week. I can allow myself to have low expectations, or discipline myself to adopt a posture of faith, expectancy and hope.
I know that when I start a week with the mindset of ‘it’s another week’ I tend to lower my expectations. I see it as another in a long line of identical weeks; a repeat of what has gone before. I prejudge what the week will be like because I expect it to follow the patterns of the ones that have gone before. I can resign myself to thinking that this week won’t contain anything fresh, and I enter the week with low expectations, rather than with faith and expectancy.
Whereas, when I begin a day or a week thinking that it’s a new day, that has the potential to completely change the way I approach it. A new day is not necessarily like the preceding one. A new week is not just a carbon copy of the previous week. I can draw a line under what has gone before and expect a new beginning. Of course, there may be things carried over, and plenty about this week that looks very similar to the one just gone, but it’s not a straight repetition. This is a new week, which may mean new challenges, but it also means new opportunities, and crucially new grace, mercy, and blessings from God, and new things He’s prepared for us to do.
Lamentations 3 says:
‘The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;(Lamentations 3:22-26, ESV)
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
The LORD is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.’
So here are a few questions to ponder, and a prayer you may want to pray today.
The Week Behind
God’s mercies are new every morning. Which means that last week, whether you were aware of it or not, you experienced at least seven new mercies from God. I suspect many more than seven.
Why not take a moment to reflect back over the last week and name some of the mercies you received. Write them down, thank God for them, perhaps decide to share them with someone this week as a way of giving testimony to God’s goodness.
If last week was a hard week for you, and you struggle to identify anything good from it, you may want to ask God to reveal to you some of His mercies, which maybe you hadn’t noticed previously.
The Week Ahead
As we reflect on some of the ways God has shown us mercy in the past, that should give us confidence that He will show us new mercies this morning.
So, what are the mercies you need today? There may be things coming up this week that you already know you don’t have the strength for, or areas you need to experience God’s mercy afresh. Bring those things to Him right now.
Maybe there are things you’ve been asking for over a long time, and it can be hard to believe that this week could be any different to those that have gone before. Why not ask Him to help give you the stamina and strength to keep on asking and hoping?
‘The LORD is good to those who wait for him…v24, 26
It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.’
I find this hard. It can be tempting to rush into a new week and busy ourselves with activity; to allow others to set the pace for us, or to expect that God will move at our pace, answering prayers on our deadlines. What’s more, our weeks can be filled with so much noise – from people, demands, social media, and so on – which is why we are instructed not only to ‘wait’, but to do so ‘quietly.’
Why not take a moment to ask God:
- How are you asking me to wait for you this week?
- Where am I in danger of rushing ahead?
- How can I make sure I am moving at your pace this week, and not a pace of my own choosing, or dictated to me by others, or by my circumstances?
- What noises or distractions do I need to silence in order to hear your voice more clearly?
‘The LORD is good to those who wait for him,v25
to the soul who seeks him.’
Waiting for God isn’t passive. It’s not just doing nothing, whilst you wait to see what happens. Godly waiting also involved proactive seeking.
Why not take a moment to ask God:
- Where should I be seeking you this week?
- Are there Scriptures you want me to be pondering, prayers for me to be praying, spiritual practices I need to carve out time for this week?
- Are there steps of faith you’re asking me to take, where in stepping out (even though it feels uncomfortable), that’s where I’m going to discover your mercy waiting for me?
A Prayer for Mondays
I don’t know how you’ve started this week, but perhaps even reading this God has brought to mind things for you today that can change your mindset and your level of expectancy. This is not just another week, but a new week. Maybe there are things God has asked you to do; ways He has challenged you to wait; distractions He has prompted you to silence.
Why not use this prayer as a way of dedicating this Monday and this week to Him:
God of unending mercies,
As I stand at the precipice of another week,
Would you reset my expectations.
This is not merely another week,
but a new week;
Not just another day,
but a new day.
And as I am stumbling into it,
And bleary eyed,
You’ve already been up for hours,
Scheming how to show me your mercies
In ways I can’t imagine.
Not one day have you repeated yourself,
Phoned it in,
Copied and pasted,
Or served up stale, day-old goodness.
It’s fresh every morning.
As I contemplate the week ahead;
A new row on my calendar,
A new to-do list,
A new cycle of jobs, interactions,
Hopes, dreams and emotions,
May I know that you have gone before me,
Scattering breadcrumbs of blessing through the days.
And you’re watching with glee,
Urging me to find them.
Is the day that the Lord has made.
I will rejoice
And I will be glad.
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