New Year’s Reflections

It’s 2014. That snuck up on me. I remember when I was a kid, looking forward to this night with anticipation.

“Tonight’s the night I get to stay up until midnight! I get to shoot fireworks! I get to stay up until midnight!”

Here I am, a good ten years later, watching the clock tick past 12:00 and thinking nothing of it. It’s just another day. I’ll be at work in less than 12 hours. The sun will set and the sun will rise and that’s that.

But, whether it feels like it or not, today is a landmark. Today the world is a year older. Today everyone (in the west) throws their calendar out and hangs a new one. Today is 2014.

I’ve never been one for New Years resolutions. And by that I mean l’ve never been one for keeping resolutions past February. The sudden “clean slate” of 2014 doesn’t make me a different person. I’m still me, with all the same strengths and weaknesses. I’m talented, but timid. Smart, but self-centered. I can’t stop being who I am just because everyone says it’s time to change.

However, just because I’m the same person now that I was two minutes ago doesn’t mean I’m the same person now that I was one year ago. Lives are shaped by events and responses, and more than a few things have happened during 2013 that have worked to chisel out more of my character. Indulge me while I reflect a little, will you?

The Events of 2013 have done a lot to shape my perception of the future:

1)I started and finished the Navigate program (a devotional…ish course) through College Plus. Without a doubt, Navigate, along with the Worldviews class I took from John Stonestreet, changed my life. These classes brought me back into the light after several months of wondering if God even existed at all. Thanks to their guidance, I have more faith in God and a life purpose to work toward.

2) I was promoted at work. Night Manager. A bigger responsibility than I’ve ever had before. The (mental) transition from Shift Leader to Night Manager was a slow one. For a long time I resisted the change, not wanting to take on more than I could handle. However, thanks to a no-nonsense, tough-love manager, I finally answered God’s call and put all I had into my new position, ready or not. Because of this mental shift and great opportunity, God was able to pull me out of my comfort zones and teach me a lot about leadership.

3) My car was in an accident early in the year. Though this may seem like a downside, as I look back I see it was the hand of God. When the accident happened, my sister and I were on the brink of moving out of our parents’ house. Thank God he took our car away (while keeping both drivers completely unharmed) or we would’ve. If I had moved, I would not have been able to start CollegePlus. Even the “bad” events in life can be blessings.

4) Early in November I applied for an internship position with CollegePlus and, by the grace of God, two months later I was offered the position. All at once I felt that every little decision I made to follow God’s will instead of my own, every freak accident, every dream in my heart, every project I chose to pursue culminated to this one amazing, surprising blessing that God was holding up his sleeve the whole time! A Christmas present so perfect that I never would have even thought to ask for it. God is a far better life-planner than I ever will be.

2013 was hard. Really hard. I cried a lot. I shook my fist at God more than once. But I put one foot in front of the other, never knowing where God’s misty path was leading. To tell you the truth, I still don’t know where I’m going. But I do know one thing beyond the shadow of a doubt: God never leads me astray.

This next year will be different. Extremely different. I’ll be taking on a new job, diving into my school, and writing even more than before. All this will happen almost 1,000 miles away from my family.  Sometimes I’ll forget to remind myself that God has everything under control. I’ll fret about details, I’ll panic when things go wrong, but this will all be for naught. I gave God the reigns to my life a long time ago. And he’s never let go.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned this year and never want to forget, it’s this: God works together all things for the good of those who love him.

Happy New Year!

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