Taking stock of your life is so human. The changing of the calendar is a natural time to do it, especially when you have holiday time off to ponder how your relatives have changed since you last saw them. Or, as in the case of some of us, how our families have one less member.

Wanting things to be better, to be renewed, is a common longing. Every decent longing has a sublime object, even if we do not realize it. This one is no different. We yearn for renewal because God does. In “Restoring All Things,” Warren Smith writes, “The Bible is not a book about how to have a better life or how to handle life’s problems. It is a book that explains the universe and how God is in the process of redeeming and restoring it to its original good, true, and beautiful state.”

The Christian faith understands the world as it is, one that includes evil and brokenness. That falls on each of us human beings, so God offers us a fresh start, a re-birth. That is the way Jesus reached out to Nicodemus, who countered, “How can these things be?” Jesus proceeded to explain His identity as the Son, His atoning sacrifice, and His offer of eternal life. By faith you are reborn (John 3).

As you reflect, you may realize you need to change course. The word for that is repentance, but in the Bible it means far more than “turning over a new leaf.” It means you have turned away from what you were, and embraced your new identity in Christ. It means you “walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).

Once I was speaking to dear souls recovering from substance abuse. One said, “Sometimes I wish I could take my brain out, wash it, and put it back in.” What a revealing statement about the junk habits and memories you can accumulate, to your detriment! The Bible says you can be transformed by the renewing of your mind. This happens when you present your body to God as a living and holy sacrifice, no longer conformed to the world (Rom. 12:1-2).

As you review your life, remember that as God has reconciled you, you are now a reconciler. This is how you participate in the work of God in this world. Redemption is within the grasp of your inquiring friends, as God is willing to reconcile them too, not counting their trespasses against them (2 Cor. 5:18-20).

All of these “re” words reveal a story about a loving God and people He created, you in particular. So, yes, take stock of your life now in the first few days of 2019, and believe God’s grand narrative that includes you finding your good, true, and beautiful state of being.