The Tony-nominated musical Waitress, based on a 2007 indie film with the same name, hit Broadway in April of 2016 and filled its hallowed streets with smells of pie and the sweet lilting voice of lead actress, Jessie Mueller. Her performance of Jenna, a small town–diner waitress (with a skill for baking unique pies) stuck in an abusive marriage, is heart-wrenching and show-stopping. Early on, Jenna learns she’s pregnant, and the audience is taken on an emotional, sometimes hilarious, journey as she makes plans and mistakes.
In one scene, after a particularly harsh fight with her husband, Jenna comes to grips with her unexpected, unwanted pregnancy and who she has become in recent years with the song, “She Used to Be Mine.” She sings these words: “It’s not simple to say / that most days / I don’t recognize me. / With these shoes and this apron / that place and its patrons / that have taken more / than I gave them.” Her job, her marriage, her relationships, and just about everything else in her life caused her to become someone she didn’t recognize—someone who was stuck and scared. Later in the song she sings, “Sometimes life just slips in through a back door / and carves out a person / and makes you believe it’s all true.”
But Jenna decides to fight—for her own sake as well as her child’s— against the disappearance of her true self. It’s sad and beautiful to listen to her mourn the girl she used to be (however imperfect and awed) but still believe she can rekindle the fire she used to have. And at the end of the show, when she has her baby and removes the toxic relationships from her life, she sings, “I swear to remember to say / we were both born today!”
Have you ever woken up one day and said to yourself, How did I get here? It happens to the best of us. The enemy slipped lie after lie into our hearts and made us believe they’re all true, carving us into a shell of who we used to be. We can spend weeks, months, or even years in autopilot, not realizing we’re operating out of less than God intended. Whether 2016 was a great year or a year of sorrow, frustration, or difficulty, take a page out of Jenna’s book. It’s time to wake up. Use the new year as an opportunity to begin anew—to realize you’re never going to be the same, learn from your mistakes and the hard times, rekindle what needs to be rekindled, and throw out the rest. Take some time this month to bring your life into focus with God’s Word. Breathe fresh air and heal. Begin 2017 with a fresh heart, and you never know what new thing God may birth in your life.
“Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it?”