Out with the old

Is it okay to use the phrase, “Out with the old, and in with the new” in July?

We often think of letting go of past mistakes and attitudes when we start a new calendar year, but spiritual renewal is certainly not a once-a-year ritual that magically fixes all our foibles.

Every day — indeed, every minute — is a new chance to let go of the old and bring in the new.

So here we are in the middle of the year, with a lesson to be learned from considering the lilies…well, daylilies specifically.

June and July are the months in which I really appreciate daylilies. They brighten up the most washed-out, blazing hot summer day with their lovely colors and textures.

One interesting thing one might notice about daylily varieties is their individual habits of dropping their spent blooms. The word “hemerocallis” literally means “beautiful for a day.” The clump of daylilies you admire today will not be there tomorrow. Those blooms will fade in the evening or overnight, depending on the type. Tomorrow’s show will be all new blossoms!

What happens to the old blooms from yesterday? Ah, that’s the issue here. Some of the varieties, like the red one with the bright yellow stripe in the center of the thin petals, dry up and become thin little sticks that discreetly fall off the plant.

Others, like the stunning “Panda Bear” with its wide petals of yellow with a dark maroon eye, behave differently. These turn into a wet, slimy mush that tends to drape lazily over the new buds, often drying into a sticky brown film that keeps the new buds from opening fully. Yuck!

And it is not a pretty sight. Oh, no.

It makes me wonder what things I hang onto, to my own detriment. Like the closed up buds of the daylilies, do my old habits just dry up and fall away so that my new talents and developing character traits can shine beautifully?

Or do I hang onto things that will just turn ugly? Resentment, anger, or jealousy can really mess up my life if I don’t let it go.

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice” (Ephesians 4:31, NASB).

Worry is a big one. When we ask our Father for the things we need, but then worry about whether he will provide, the anxiousness becomes a slimy mess that permeates our days.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

“When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
Your consolations delight my soul” (Psalm 94:19).

If we are to let the beauty of Jesus be seen in us, we will need to let go of the things that are no longer beautiful in us.

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