Wow. I almost have no idea where to really start with this.
2017 marks the year where I experienced the most painful heartbreak, confusion, fight for my self-worth, trial after trial, and, worst of all, feeling angry at God because of my circumstances for the first time in my life. Yet simultaneously, 2017 has been singlehandedly the most beautiful, thought-provoking, and distinguishable year of spiritual growth in my entire life. In retrospect, it is hard to even describe or make sense of how those two paradoxical realities make up my 2017. But they do. God is like that. Beauty in ashes, hope in the valleys, freedom found in surrender.
I just wanted a few things I learned, remembered again, or experienced.
- Our faith in Jesus DEMANDS a response from us. But; it doesn’t demand any old response. It demands our fully surrendered hearts, our lives, anything and everything we have. It demands our obedience. It demands us to make a conscious choice to choose Jesus every day of our lives. It demands our lives sold out for the Kingdom in whatever way God sees fit.
- God doesn’t mess around with this sanctifying thing. I’ve always freely admitted that I am not “a patient person”; I even allowed it to become a part of who I am. I didn’t think it would really change. As I’m sure you expect, I was wrong about that. God has closed enough doors, waited to answer, or said “not yet” enough times for me to realize that He isn’t giving me a say in the matter. I don’t get to abstain from developing certain fruits of the spirit over others. He will sanctify and re-mold this sinful heart, hell or high water.
- Self care isn’t a cover-up for selfishness. It is vital and life giving; so that we have the capacity to love others well.
- I have a lot of learning to do; especially in how I have previously been close-minded and ignorant in some areas of racial inequality and injustice. I’m still not fully there yet, either. But, God has been faithful to put people in my life to encourage me to wake up and bear one another’s burdens as Christ bears mine.
- I have experienced the incredible power found in calling on the name of Jesus through prayer. The God I serve is mightier than I often give Him credit for. This year is the first time where I prayed prayers, EXPECTING AND KNOWING that God WILL ANSWER, and do AWESOME THINGS.
- God revealed a lot of my own sin to me this year, and it rocked my world in a good way. Rather than feeling a crushing weight, God made it so His glory and goodness shone through every moment with Him. The more I saw my own sin for what it is, the more I could give God the proper adoration for the undeserving grace that Jesus gave me. I never want it to end.
- He wants my obedience. To “stay in my lane”, so to speak. To sprint after Him. So, I will. Complacency and half in, half out behavior has ruled too much of my life thus far.
- Surrender isn’t a one-time thing. It requires us to go again, and again, and again. Sometimes multiple times a day. But, it’s more than worth it.
- Joy truly is a choice. I have enough people in my life who shown me this truth in action that I can speak it with full confidence.
- “Better is one day in (His) courts than one thousand elsewhere”—Psalm 84:10.
The list could go on and on here. But, I chose to stop it at 10 because everything I mentioned radically impacted my life this year, and 10 is also a pretty, nice, even number.
I have no other words, except that God is the most faithful and the most good. There is no one like Him. Here’s to another incredible year, 2018.