It seems that these end of the year/NewYear’s reflections are becoming a tradition for me. I think this is partly because they offer me a chance to regroup and get my thoughts on paper, but also because I love sharing how God has made Himself strong in my life each year. The hardest part is always sorting through a whole year of lessons, joys, pain, surprises, and above all, time with my Savior, and trying to sum it all up.
At the beginning of 2012, when challenged to choose a word that would sum up my resolution for the year, I felt God strongly putting ‘trust’ into my heart and mind. A year later, I laugh, thinking how little I really knew about the word at the time. As usual, God knew, and He has faithfully taught me trust in a million different ways, from little, day-to-day situations, to what felt like life-changing decisions.
Looking back, I can very honestly say that my life would not be where it is now if it wasn’t for God leading me here. Without Him giving me the grace to trust Him, I have a feeling that I would have made some pretty poor decisions and missed out on a lot of opportunities. I marvel at how I still fail to trust Him sometimes after He has proven Himself, not just in my life, but worldwide throughout history!
2012 has probably held the most changes for me of any year in my life. One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn is trusting God, not just when it’s easy, but trusting Him when I can’t see around the next corner. When I’m peering anxiously ahead, trying to at least see my next step, wishing He would just give me the 4 step, 6 month plan I so desperately want, that’s when He just whispers ‘trust me my child.’ If I knew my life for the next 6 months, would I have to stay as close to His side? Would I cling to Him and seek Him every step of the way? I’m afraid that in my sinful, forgetful nature, I wouldn’t. So when I get frustrated that He won’t let me see my next turn, I’m learning to be thankful that He’s using it to pull me into His arms.
Life doesn’t always go the way I plan for it to… actually, I’m learning that it rarely does, but I’m also learning that’s ok.
Another very important thing that I’ve learned is the importance of relationships. Not just the importance of having a lot of friends, but the absolute importance of having one-on-one, vulnerable relationships. I’m learning that people must come before busyness or my agenda, and that the time invested in them is more precious than that spent accomplishing things or furthering my goals. I thank God for wise parents who He has used to remind me of this and continually encourage me in many areas of my life. Most importantly, they have been faithful to point out when I put anything in my life before my relationship with God. It’s easy to be blind in this area, as I have been, but I’m thankful that they have opened my eyes over and over.
I’m in the process now of not just saying that God is first in my life, or thinking it, or even playing at it, but actually letting Him make that true in me. I’m learning the importance of complete, humbling surrender, and of letting go of me and letting His strength be made perfect in my weakness! I can be so prideful sometimes, often without knowing it, and I’m thankful for friends who are vulnerable with me and unknowingly showing me this while admitting their own pride. By thinking that I am not proud, and that I have that area of my life (and others!) under control on my own, I have been demonstrating terrible pride. Oh, the irony of life and the deceitfulness of our own hearts…
It’s hard to explain, but I feel like the world has opened up to me exponentially in the past year, and not necessarily through opportunities, excitement, or enlightenment. Somehow, I feel like I’m finally learning what it means to live, love, and grow. I always thought I had all of that down, but it’s like God has taken what used to be concepts for me and made them deepening realities. I’m learning the fragility of just about everything in life, and how naive I have been in refusing to believe that. It’s like my eyes have been almost rudely opened to ‘real life’ in the past year, but God has made it a beautiful thing. He has shown me how shallow I’ve been, how petty, how silly, and is showing me what it means to live deliberately and with purpose. Obviously, I still don’t have it all figured out, and never will, but I’m excited to be discovering more every day! The bottom line is that God IS good, it’s not just something we spout out in a burst of Christian excitement, but it is a lasting, recurring, vitally true statement about the very being of God. He is unchanging in the midst of instability, and loving despite our failures. Never be ashamed to cling to Him, to cry out to Him in the most childish fashion, or even to ask Him ‘why?‘ He’s our Father, and He LOVES us.
Well, I have rambled on long enough, and could continue on indefinitely, telling ya’ll how awesome my God has been, but I hope and pray that my stumbling journey somehow encourages you. I love you all dearly, and appreciate the influence, inspiration, love, and encouragement each of you has given me. I truly am blessed and I apologize for taking ya’ll for granted, and even putting my ‘busy’ schedule ahead of time with ya’ll. I want to deepen, develop, and rebuild my relationships with ya’ll this coming year.
I pray that God uses this coming year to challenge, grow, and humble me, and that I become more like my Savior through it. As I continue to learn ‘trust’, it seems that my theme for 2013 will become ‘let go.‘ I need to let go of my pride, my plans, my selfishness, and well, myself, in order to let God have full reign!