2014: Looking Back

My dad pronounced (I get to use that word here because he is a pastor and his voice is very pronounce-y) this blessing over me as time creeped into a new day and year and we watched fireworks explode from Taipei 101:

May you have the hindsight to know where you have been,
the foresight to know where you are going,
and the insight to know when you are going too far.

The end of the year is always a good time to take stock of the last 365 days gone by. I have to say that 2014 has not been my best year in terms of accomplishments or noteworthy anything’s, really. You may have noticed that this blog has remained suspiciously stagnant the whole year.

I entered 2014 in limbo, waiting to hear back about a job I eventually rejected, not really sure of ‘what I wanted to do with my life,’ unable to give concrete answers to all the aunties who so frequently asked. I worked part-time throughout the year, wrestled with questions about what I should be doing, and twice refused full-time jobs I could have had because they just didn’t seem right at the time. There’s a lot more I could say about all that, but perhaps in another post.

Today, I enter 2015 still in limbo. By society’s standards, my achievements – or rather, the lack thereof – officially qualify me as a bum or a failure. Unlike friends who have celebrated or will soon celebrate their first anniversary with their new jobs or a second graduation, I find myself a year and a half out of college, still not fully employed and, truthfully, with little desire to be so employed. As a number of friends my age tie the knot and begin a new chapter in their lives, I struggle to tie up the loose ends of a year conspicuously lacking in definite milestones.

But here’s the thing. Even though my performance the past year means that I would have completely and utterly lost in the game of LIFE! and I feel like I’ve just gone in one big fat circle and ended up right back where I started last year, 2014 has been so rich in so many other ways that arguably matter much more.

This past year, I feel like I have finally begun to understand the amazing grace and love that have been poured out upon me and are continually being lavished upon me every day. It has been a year of questioning the extent of that love and grace, of pushing the limits, of challenging the One who claims to love me, and of being met time and time again with the undeniable truth that, truly, He loves me. He loves me when I am the farthest as I could be from who I think He wants me to be. He loves me when I try to do the right thing and fail. He loves me when I don’t even care about doing the right thing or honouring Him or not displeasing Him. He loves me when I rebel. He loves me when I don’t love Him back and feel no remorse about it. He loves me. He loves you too.

I have searched and searched for the will of God, trying to determine what job to pursue, what opportunities to seize, what life to live, and I have found that none of that will put me in the centre of God’s will if I do not understand the simple truth that He loves me. His will is for us to know Him. Think about it. God could have saved us with a snap of His powerful, divine fingers without ever leaving His throne. Instead, He sends His dearly beloved Son to this cruel place called earth where He was rejected and despised and lived only that He might be put to death by the very ones He came to save. So why did He come? To save us – yes. But why save us? The answer is because He loves us. Jesus could have come and grown up in some deserted corner of the earth, like some genetically-bred piece of meat, until the time was right for Him to die, but instead, He walked among man. He discipled men. He had compassion on people and healed them. He built relationships.

God’s will is for us to be in relationship with Him. It’s not about just walking along some path that He lays out before us. That’s only relevant when we walk the road because we are walking with Him and He leads us down it. He is the starting point. The Alpha and Omega.

By all measurable means, I should feel like a failure. I tried to do everything right and got nowhere. But then I gave up trying, did everything wrong, and found grace and love. And that is the victory that I claim – one that is given to me every day. We don’t have to be perfect to come to God. We don’t even have to be good. Jesus is our goodness and our righteousness. We just need Him. God loves more than we give Him credit for. We tend to think that He will only really love us or like us when we are at least trying to do right by Him – we don’t have to succeed, but we have to at least try. I’m learning that that’s complete bollocks. He loved us before we could even try to do right. He loves us still, when we don’t bother. HE LOVES US!

So I end the year thankful for 2014, for all its questions, struggles and anguish helped me to see God a little more clearly. Praying that 2015 will be a year filled with more of the transforming, redeeming, furious love of the Father. May I learn to extend grace as I have been shown grace, and to love as I have been loved.

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