This year has been incredibly busy. I could almost say that 2014 has been one of the busiest years of my life. This summer was packed full to perfection with an amazing vacation to the North Carolina Mountains, Williamsburg, Virginia, Washington D.C, and Baltimore, Maryland. This school year was packed with AP classes and time-consuming, tedious work. It’s a flimsy excuse for not sitting at the keyboard to post, even when I did have time, but I’m hoping that I will be able to start the New Year with a commitment to blog more (just one of my resolutions). But I didn’t log in just to tell you about how busy I’ve been, I wanted to share with you 7 important things I learned during the year 2014. There’s been ups and downs and through it all, I couldn’t be more amazed at how much I’ve grown spiritually this past year. Which leads me to the first thing I learned in 2014…
1. How to get in the Word…and stay there
I went to church every Sunday and Wednesday and I heard the Word, but often I wouldn’t take time out of my day to have a quiet time. I would usually take out my Bible and read a huge chunk of scripture and then never read again for the rest of the month. But that changed in March of this year. After learning some context about the book of 2 Timothy, I dove in and committed to read my Bible everyday. I haven’t been perfect, but I have absolutely formed a habit of it, and I have seen the difference it has made. I notice a change in my faith, life and mood when I make the choice to read that day or not to read. That alone has been the defining point in my life this year.
2. My determination never gets me anywhere if it’s not something God wants to happen.
I can work hard. I can muster up enough determination to challenge a metaphorical Mt. Everest. I can try to tackle it. But in the end, it only takes me so far. There are always situations that are out of my control, and I have to accept that God’s plans are so much better and so far above my own. My determination should always be to bring glory to God, no matter what my circumstances are or what the outcome might be. God is ALWAYS in control. He is still sitting on his throne no matter what is happening in my life or in the world around me.
3. Savor the small things
This year I’ve gotten better at living in the moment and finding wonder and reasons to worship God in the things that could be overlooked. It means that I am not so focused on the future that I forget to look around and see what’s now. Because my “now” is a painful, complicated, beautiful work of God’s heart, and there are so many things he uses to get my attention so that I can become even more brilliant. And this year I’ve barely scratched the surface of seeing those things like they’re meant to be seen.
4. Fear is temporary when God is involved
No matter who you are or how old you may be, there is always some type of fear that plagues each and every one of us. My approach at the beginning of this year was simply to power through them. To face them. Show them who’s boss. To wrangle them into submission. In case you’re thinking of doing the same, I have a warning- that doesn’t work. I tried to. I wanted them to go away. And at the beginning of the school year, I spent some time in prayer. And Jesus told me where the problem was. The fear in my life was never something I could handle, power through or beat into submission. It was something that had to be placed in God’s hands and left there. Fear had to be given to God every single day. And there were times when a paralyzingly spirit of fear was fervently prayed out of me by people who care about me, and that was when I found myself free to accomplish each and every action God was calling me to take. Because when God is the center of my life, fear has no room to stay.
5. When I wake up committed to follow God each day, I will follow His Will for my life
Slowly but surely, I find myself on the path he wants me to walk when I give him my simple obedience day after day. “Be holy as I am holy” is what God asks of me, it’s his will for my life, and I become more like him when I wake up surrendered to whatever he might call me to do that day. I give up my own dreams and my own will and I align my will with God’s- that’s when I’m right where I’m supposed to be.
6. A change in procrastination and priorities gets more done
I’ve proved this to be true in my own life , especially as it relates to school. When school gets busy, I am tempted to let God take a backseat to my exhaustion and the growing amounts of him work I have, most of it could have been done earlier, if I hadn’t procrastinated. This year, I’ve proven the statement “When God is your top priority, everything else falls into place.” When God was my priority, things did flow smoothly, even in the midst of chaos. And, when God wasn’t my priority, even when things weren’t too tough, the schedule I was juggling seemed to fall apart. Procrastination is still a sin that needs works in my life, but I am confident that in the next year Jesus and I can straighten some of my laziness out of me. But this year has been a wake-up call to me regarding my procrastination, and next year, hopefully I’ll get more done. And finish everything all the way and to the very best of my ability.
7. I’m never meant to be center stage
I mean this in a spiritual context, because another thing I wanted to work on this past year was my humbleness…or lack of humbleness. Through different events, God has shown me that he is to be the one thing people notice about me. With my abilities or talents, I am meant to glorify him and put attention on him, not myself. And most importantly, it’s not about me, it’s all about him. There’s nothing that’s worth seeing if I’m the center of attention.
Take some time to think about what God has taught you over this past year and get ready to celebrate the new one. Here we come 2015!!
2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.