Today, I’ve been reading this year’s journals and reflecting more on the past year than perhaps I’ve ever done before on a New Year’s Eve. And I have a few things to share…
12 Changes of 2012
I wrote something similar in the eleventh hour of 2010, two years ago now. Now, after such a landmark year, I think this is an idea whose time has come again.
- My three weeks overseas prior to this year has turned into more than seven months this year. I’ve lived in the UK, I’ve lived in China, I’ve tasted and seen and heard the good and the bad music of culture with eyes wide open.
- I was used to having friends all over the country, but now I have friends all over the world! It’s been wonderful connecting with people from (sometimes vastly) different cultures and backgrounds.
- My outlook on life, myself, and, well, everything has been radically transformed this year. I know myself more, and I am more real with others. It’s all thanks to God, who used my experiences this year to grow me and help me find true freedom in Him. I have more hope and joy than I’ve ever had before.
- Growing up, I always wanted to be a writer. At university, I got discouraged and set that dream aside. This year, I’ve dusted off the dream of writing and picked it up again, daring to believe, decrying the fear, dancing in hope. I’m discovering the kind of writing I love to do, and I’ve been doing it in journals, blogs, and devotionals.
- In the six months I’ve spent with my parents and sister this year, I’ve realized with great joy that my attitude toward my family has changed, and, thus, that we’re connecting and relating to each other better than ever before. This has been one of the greatest blessings of the last six months.
- Through my improved relationship with my family, as well as my improved perspective on life, I’ve been able to “redeem my time” here at home. Incredibly, amazingly, thankfully, I’ve enjoyed living at home for the first time since I left for college six years ago.
- “You enjoy meeting new people” reads one of the statements on many job application assessments. Before this year, I wouldn’t have been able to honestly respond with “Strongly agree.” But now I can. I’ve become more outward-focused and more willing to step out of my comfort zone with greater confidence and into new things.
- Speaking of stepping out, I’ve found a niche for speaking to and teaching groups, both seen (Sunday School and youth groups) and unseen (radio audiences).
- I’m learning how to enjoy and fully live in the present, rather than living off of memories of the past or expectations for the future. There is joy in today.
- Head-knowledge has become heart-knowledge in a number of areas. I’ve learned so much more about relationships and communication, what it means to truly love, how to deal with doubt and unbelief, and so much more.
- I’m learning how to be more intentional in relationships, and my fears and sense of self-worth are no longer at that all-time low they remained at for so long, freeing me to love and care about others more.
- My personal devotional time has exploded! I’ve written through almost three complete journals this year and read a good portion of the Bible. But I can’t stop there. It comes back to relationship: my relationship with God. That is the change I’m really celebrating, and I’m grateful for the means He’s used to bring it about. I’m learning how to seek God with all of me.
And on that note of seeking God, I want to share something I wrote this summer that I rediscovered today. I’ll call it The Greatest Commandment, and it is my prayer for 2013:
To love the Lord with all one’s heart, soul, mind and strength, that is more than burnt offerings. Not just to seek You and serve You with all of me, but to love You.
I want to love You with all my heart – to turn my depth of feeling toward You; to trust You with my heart in all its frailty; to give You the outpourings of my heart, and to give them to You first; to experience true joy in You; and to let You awaken my heart.
I want to love you with all my soul – to pray to You; to listen for Your voice and be ready to act when You speak; to lift my soul to You and no other; and to keep coming after You.
I want to love You with all my mind – to use my intelligence for Your glory; to battle through any doubts I have about Your character or Your actions; to think for You, not just feel for You; to come to You with any and all questions; to commit my mental energies to the purpose of knowing you more; and to listen when You speak to me through the logic, the reasoning, the processes of my mind.
I want to love You with all my strength – to run to You with all the speed I can muster; to stand up again each time I fall, even when it feels like the weight of the world is pressing upon me; to do everything for Your glory; to not give up, or believe the lies that I am not strong enough and never will be; to live the truth that I can do all things through You who strengthen me; and to step out to You and for You, even when it seems like all the odds are against me.