It’s December and I find myself waiting. Waiting for the next test to be over. For the next essay to be turned in. For the weekend to end and the week to start. For the week to end and the weekend to start.
I love Christmas and I love the waiting period that leads up to it, but this year it feels different. Spending my first Advent away from home, another holiday season coming and going, it all makes me want to stop time and live large. 2016 is almost over and I filled it with joy and beauty, and nothing makes me more grateful than having no regrets.
I don’t know who is reading this right now, and maybe I’m just writing to myself, but I don’t want you to ever fear failure or grimace at regret. We are all constantly learning and in the end, we’re all just beautiful messes. It’s the imperfections that keep us alive, motivating us to push further and further (High Strung). We’re made more beautiful by our scars and by the stories we can tell because of that year, 2016, that made us all a little stronger.
So here’s my farewell to 2016.
Thank you twenty sixteen for teaching me more about myself than I ever knew was possible. Thank you for challenging me, for teaching me faith, for helping me be patient and practice what I preach, for making new friends and pursuing genuine relationships. Thank you for all of the late nights that I didn’t spend in my dorm room but with people talking about Jesus and His goodness. Thank you for all the nights I woke up in different cities around the world. I know that you wanted nothing but the best for me and I know that I squeezed every last drop out of you. I laughed, I cried, I wrote more than ever before, and most importantly, I lived. You were so worth it.
To be honest, I alway get giddy around this time of year. Knowing that we all get a blank slate to pursue our dreams, travel, and make something of ourselves fills me with an “inexpressible joy”, like the apostle Peter says in 1 Peter 1:8. I can’t wait for God to work in 2017; for Him to mold me into the disciple He wants me to be. I started really intentionally memorizing scripture in 2016 and I saw so much fruit from that alone. Having the Word of God in my back pocket at all times make every situation seem like a conquered challenge. Knowing I am found in Christ, that I have the God of angel armies surrounding me on every side is enough to make me smile my biggest smile when I think of 2017.
Unlike I usually do, I won’t set my plans for the new year in stone. In the past, I always knew that God had the power to change my plans at a moment’s notice, but I never allowed or that option in my planning. It brings so much frustration when we try to wrestle with God about the best plan for our lives. We’re fighting a losing fight. We become like children fighting over scraps of food in a dark alleyway, thinking that they will satisfy our hunger when right around the corner, Times Square is flashing with all of its lights and it’s high-end coffee shops, and Jesus just standing there, arms wide open, saying let go. Please let go.
My church is in the middle of a series called “the exchange”. The idea is that if we let go of what’s in our hand, God lets go of what’s in His hand. Whether that means finances, goals or material things, God wants us to be generous and share it with our neighbors. We all know that giving to someone else feels so much better than keeping something for ourselves, yet it’s only around Christmas that we become givers instead of takers. Our ideas and goals will never amount to the beauty that God has in store for our lives when we let Him take over.