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What to Do When Your Happy New Year Isn’t So Happy

For many, January is a month of new beginnings. Most of us want to shake the dust of the previous year from our boots and move into the new with gusto. We love the new—especially when the old has grown too old and burdensome.


So, we set New Year’s resolutions and make promises to ourselves and others. We see the new year as a blank page with exciting possibilities. And sometimes it is.


But what if January isn’t so new?


What if the same struggle we had in May or October or on December 31st is still present, or perhaps even worse, in January?


I have a buddy who battles depression, and I just texted him and asked, “How ya doing?”


“Still struggling,” he replied. His “Happy New Year” isn’t so happy.


A young couple in our church recently lost a family member. It’s just days into the new decade, and they’re facing the reality of loss and death. Their “Happy New Year” isn’t so happy.


One of my best friends and a co-worker saw her son get arrested in 2019. Last Wednesday she drove him to the courthouse to surrender himself to the authorities, and he’s in prison. The phrase “Happy New Year” makes her frustrated right now.


So, what if your new year isn’t so new, and you’re pretty sure the roaring twenties aren’t going to be so booming for you?


I wish I could offer you three easy steps to recovery, success, and joy—but I can’t. (You’d just get ticked off if I tried.)



Here’s what I can give you in one word: Perspective.


You’re still breathing.


You still have a roof over your head and food in your belly. (In my case, too much food.)


You still have at least one person in this world who cares about you (me). And you can call me right now if you need to talk for a bit. (509-210-1002 rings on my cell. Leave a message if I don’t pick up.)


What’s more, you’ve set a personal record for the highest number of days in your life in which you’ve survived everything hell has thrown at you—and you’re still growing.


And maybe that’s the point of this life: Growth. Change. Maturity. Spiritual and emotional development.


By the way, we all know how that happens best, right? In the struggle called life.


That’s why perspective matters. Happy, new, not-so-happy, or dealing with the same ol’ problem, you can choose to face whatever happens today one step and one moment at a time.


That’s how you’ve come this far, and that’s how you’ll survive today and tomorrow.


Besides, I have it on good authority that God’s not done with you yet.



I pray with great faith for you, because I’m fully convinced

that the One who began this glorious work  in you

will faithfully continue the process of maturing you

and will put his finishing touches to it

until the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Philippians 1:6  (TPT)

Kurt Bubna

Kurt W. Bubna has published seven books, is an internationally recognized blogger, conference and retreat speaker, as well as an experienced life and leadership coach. Bubna has over forty years of experience working with individuals, teams, and a wide variety of business and non-profit organizations.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Chris Vickers

    Thank you, Kurt. Made my eyes fill with tears. Validation is nice!

  2. Julene Trimborn

    Well said

  3. Ginny

    It is well.

  4. Bob Bradberry

    Good words, God is more concerned about our character development than our comfort! And that includes various sufferings.

  5. Shawna

    Thank you, Kurt! I so appreciate your regular reminders that I am loved and God is working.

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