It’s a new year and I don’t feel different

Published 3:00 pm Wednesday, January 4, 2023

“I don’t feel tardy.” — singer David Lee Roth, 1984.

“I don’t feel old. I don’t feel anything ‘til noon. That’s when it’s time for my nap.” — Comedian Bob Hope.


OK, the new year has started and I don’t feel any different. On my birthday this past year, I didn’t feel older, either. I mean, I felt old. I usually do. But I did not feel older.

I was talking with someone yesterday about our children. A young mother, she is the same age as my younger son. I said I was excited about becoming a grandfather in February, but that I didn’t feel old enough to have grandchildren.

“You’re old enough,” she reassured me. Not the kind of reassurance I wanted, I don’t think. Of course, it makes sense chronologically.

“You’re only as old as you feel,” is one of those quotes that gets thrown around a lot. If that’s true, I’ll cycle through multiple ages from 30 to 75 in a single morning. I stay plump so I’m not so wrinkled.

What I feel neither enhances nor diminishes reality. Emotions are great, don’t get me wrong. I certainly enjoy feeling happy, positive, etc. But what if everything depended on how I felt at a certain moment? Life would get topsy-turvy pretty fast.

I don’t feel any different because a new year has begun. But I can feel different and be different because today is a new day.

I can look around and very easily see needs. If I notice a need and can do something about it, I think I should. Sometimes what I can do about it is tell someone else who may be better equipped to help meet the need. Every time is an opportunity for prayer — which should be the Christian’s first line of action, not a back-up.

“All we can do now is pray” is a sad statement if it means that we haven’t been praying already. It’s a powerful statement if it means we’re taking ourselves out of the way to let God do his thing.

The way I usually hear it used is that prayer is a hopeless activity, something to do to make it seem like we haven’t totally given up yet, although we have. “God, if you can do anything …”

In Mark’s Gospel, we find the account of a man who came to the disciples to heal his son, who had been possessed by a demon. They couldn’t heal the boy, but Jesus told them to bring the boy to him. The father didn’t know if Jesus could heal him, but he wanted the healing.

“If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us,” he said.

“‘If you can?’” Jesus replied. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

Immediately, the man said, “I do believe! Help me overcome my unbelief!”

In this case, Jesus healed the boy. But the question was not about whether he would — it was about whether he could. That’s the point we miss when we put prayer last.

I want lots of things to happen this year, and they are things I’ll have to put forth effort to accomplish. They include matters of health and finances, relationships and other, more concrete goals. I guarantee no matter what I do, I will have to put prayer first — dependence on God — in order to accomplish anything.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll even feel different.

Brett Campbell can be reached at