We are obviously nearing the end of 2014. My natural inclination for the last, however many years, has been to reflect on the year: the ups and downs, God’s faithfulness, and fun times that I don’t want to forget.
This year feels different though. I’ve had the same desire to reflect, but am avoiding it with all that is within me. I think God, in his graciousness, has been peeling back these layers of realization that I don’t want to reflect on the end of the year because 2014 didn’t look the way I wanted.
2014 has been hard. I know there have been so many other people who have experienced pain, heartache and disappointment in much worse and life-changing ways than I have. But I am so prone to disregard my own feelings sometimes because “I know others have had a much harder time.” 2014 has been a constant push for me to recognize pain and hurt in my own life and deal with it. Not just deal with it by announcing to maybe my husband or a close friend that I have been hurt (I’m pretty emotional so this tends to happen more often than not). But like, actually sitting in that hurt for a while. I don’t ever do this (maybe because I’m scared or it’s emotionally draining or whatever). I just don’t ever let myself feel the weight of how I am feeling or what I am experiencing. I get hurt, I cry, I ask Jesus for help, and I guess I just keep telling myself, “Okay, now get over it. You’ll be fine.” And most of the time, because of God’s goodness, I am okay. But this year constantly revealed dark places of my heart that are hurt and God is relentlessly drawing me to himself to trust him with my feelings, trust Him by acknowledging hurt, and trusting Him to put me back together.
2014 felt a lot like a huge waiting game. Waiting for a possible job opportunity. Waiting for the possibility of a baby. Waiting to finally feel healthier, only to mess it up again. Having a job I’m totally not in to, only to fight to trust Jesus with my future.
I am more and more aware of how much unrest has crept into my world this past year.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30)
I am learning that this promise is for me too. Not just those who work hard and are tired. But for me, too. Jesus isn’t telling me here to “get it together” or “come to me when you are ready to trust me.” But even when my heart is so weary and so heavy and so pissed and frustrated, he still calls me to come to him.
This Christmas season, by what I believe is the sure goodness of God, has been surprisingly relaxing. Every year I am praying for time to slow down and enjoy the advent season. To be honest, I don’t think I prayed for that this year. I’m pretty sure I just hopped right into this season under the pretense that it will be like every year prior; busy, stressful, fattening, yet fun. However, I was quickly reminded of the fact that the Holy Spirit is dwelling in me and God’s grace to me this season has been showing me that he is faithful even when I totally neglect to come to him for help. He is good to give us a season in which we can really reflect and meditate on the waiting of what we even celebrate at Christmas; the birth of the Savior of the world.
Waiting sucks. But I believe God is faithful in the waiting. Think about all of those years people waited for God to fulfill his promise of his Son. Can you EVEN imagine that waiting game? The anticipation, the weary hearts, the frustrated souls, the faithful followers who passionately longed for God to break in and rip us apart with the grace that we find in Jesus.
On Sunday night, I found myself anxious and overwhelmed for the week to come. I am considering different job opportunities and I am a little stressed out and a lot not trusting Jesus. Then, Monday morning I woke to find out the kiddo I nanny was sick and his mom didn’t need me to come in. This maybe doesn’t seem like a big deal to anyone, but to me it was yet another example of God’s faithfulness. I am so quick to feel entitled to these moments where I get this unexpected break and get to just hang out and do whatever. But I was overwhelmed with the small details of my life that God cares about.
I wish I could say that upon realizing all of these things about God’s faithfulness and his goodness to me totally changed how I feel about 2014. But since I am doing this new thing where I allow myself to feel things that I would normally push aside, I can be honest and say that I’m praying for God to help me trust his faithfulness. As 2014 quickly comes to a close, I need more than ever for Jesus’ grace to rip me to shreds and continue to show me my need for him. If that looks like a crappy 2015, then so be it. There is nothing sweeter than my need for Jesus, the one who gives rest. The one who came to save our souls. The one who is coming again.