So I’m like several days late, what else is new. But happy new year everyone!
I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday break and a brilliant new year. As I sit back and reflect on 2016, I’m met with mixed emotions.
It’s amazing how 2016 is being hated on so fervently. It’s not surprising, however, as millions of people saw terrorism in their homes, their countries change rapidly, political upheavals swarm the media, and negativity stream through their televisions, iPhones, and tablets. This hasn’t exactly been a year of building each other up, but what year ever has been? But rather than crying about it on YouTube (yes, I’ve seen plenty a video), I think it’s more important to encourage optimism as we face the future. After all, those of us still alive have not yet fulfilled our purpose here on Earth. We are to journey on today.
I still think it’s incredible how we witnessed so many celebrity deaths this year, though. It was kind of eerie, right?
As for me, I’ve learned my lessons, fought my temptations (I haven’t won yet), and discovered my relationship with God. To be very honest, I’ve almost lost that relationship again, and have several times already put the Lord on the back burner. I’ve also encountered a number of unfortunate divisions between Christians, and have experienced that all too familiar alienation and loneliness. At the same time I’ve been at the receiving end of help from my beautiful youth community. My ears have heard this beauty in worship, in the words of my friends from my youth retreat. I have seen this beauty in the eyes of caring people and the smiles through difficult times. God is in everyone of us was the thing I learned most this year. Sometimes it’s so hard to remember this. It’s easier to let go and assume people don’t deserve mercy for reasons a, b and c.
But as C.S. Lewis, the author I came to appreciate in 2016, said, “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable in others, for God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”
That is what our lives should be about. This anger we use, this agenda we push, these feelings that we aren’t getting our fair share are all things that drown that quote out. Sometimes I really do hate myself for letting these things stand in front. I don’t think it’s easy for anyone to forgive so easily, to love so radically. We’re scared, we’re angry, or we feel like it won’t be worth it in the end.
We humans are near-sighted people. We focus on one day; we can’t see tomorrow, or even next week, let alone next year. We waste time, expecting a fresh 24 hours tomorrow. We expect attention, because we give it to others all the time. We except mercy, even if we don’t give it ourselves. It’s something I can hardly remember, even if I write all over the walls around me:
Nobody owes you anything.
Rather, we are the ones who owe. Matthew 7:12 tells us “‘So always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the Law and the Prophets.”
Again, something I’m pretty bad at. But through all things, even the most humble that we couldn’t possibly imagine, the Lord will deliver us. We can do this. We aren’t wholly incapable, because we have God to give us the strength to do it.
This year, I want to try something different. I want to increase my daily prayer life, be more honest with myself and others, and be respectful to everyone. Humility is something so hard to achieve, I’ve learned. It’s a number of habits we have to create, not just this thing God will drop out of the sky for you one day (though that’d be pretty nice).
I want to have focus.
That’s really difficult for me, too. With junior year halfway through, college is fast approaching and yeah, I’m pretty scared. I know what I need to do, but there’s this other part of me that’s like, “Let’s go back to sleep instead, or one more YouTube video, or do this distracting thing that’ll waste several hours of your day! Oh no you’re behind now? Let’s procrastinate some more!”
It’ll take time and daily habits, but I’m confident this time around. I ask for your prayers, that I can achieve what I need to do, and also what I want to do, this year. This new year God has given us is not to be squandered–it can be extraordinary if we have this trust, this focus, this connection with Him. He knows all things.
On another note, I have 100 followers! That’s really cool that so many of you have subscribed to my blog! I’m approaching my 2 year anniversary in a few months, but I really thank all of you who read, comment, and share from the bottom of my heart. It really does mean a lot, and it’s another form of encouragement that keeps me going. I wish all of you a blessed and prosperous new year. May we all keep our eyes on the Lord as we run this race to Heaven.
Pax in Christo,