Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 Reflection: The Year of "But God"

Anytime I find myself getting sick, I take it as a sign from God that I need to slow down. Now a couple of days away from the end of the year, I lie in bed with a slight cold. However, in the stillness of this last Saturday morning of 2012, I am very grateful for being forced to be still. In the stillness I hear God and can have time to meditate and reflect. Many times when the end of the year comes people have so much excitement stating the next year is “going to be my year” because the year we are exiting from has had its share of trials and tribulations. We rush out of one year with such anticipation and expectation, seemingly only to recite the same sentence at the close of the next year…..”Next year is going to be my year”. When we look back on it, it seems all we had was a series of setbacks, disappointments, struggles. All we can look forward to is a new beginning and hopefully better outcomes. As I prepare to exit 2012, I have great expectations of what 2013 will bring. However, I am also choosing to leave 2012 in gratitude rather than defeat or disappointment in what has happened over the course of the year. It has been a year of ups and downs, disappointments and setbacks but it has also been a year of great joys, blessings and favor. I started the year looking for a job, money low, and bills still needing to be paid but God blessed me with a new job making more than I have made in years. I envisioned starting the PhD program this year but it was setback. But God has me in position to complete my second masters and pursue another educational opportunity in an area I am passionate about coming in 2013. It was a year of car troubles and related expenses that appeared to drain me. But God blessed me with a new car and the car that I wanted. Some people walked out of my life, it hurt deeply and I didn’t really understand. But God opened the door for new relationships, friendships and associations to come in their place. There are many things I could look at as loss. Many things I could choose to look at in sadness. However, as I leave out of 2012, all I can say is “but God”. 2012 was the year of “but God”. God is faithful. God has a greater plan than anything I could ever imagine. It is not to be churchy or religious but it is to state facts. Things have happened which I could not have imagined or dreamed. It was not at my hand or my doing but it was in the master plan of God. Every loss, every setback, every dark cloud, even when I could not see it at the time, had a “but God” attached to it. Therefore as we prepare to cross into 2013, I am not going hell-bent on my will, my timetable, or my expectations. I cross over into 2013 continuing to seek God’s will, God’s direction, the Spirit’s leading and God’s timetable. Yes, I have some goals written down and some desired timelines to keep myself accountable. However, I also remain flexible knowing there may be some adjustments along the way because God is still in control. The goals will be met and the desired end will come but the journey may take some twists and turns before I get to the end. It does not lessen my expectation of it coming to pass. That is a lot to say coming from a control freak, type A personality that likes to know the whole process in advance. However as 2012 has shown me, no matter how much I want to know or how much God has shown me in advance, there are still steps, twists and turns that I don’t know about in advance. I just have to trust God and flow with the Spirit. I leave out of 2012 in peace, not with the frustration and anxiety of years past. I leave in light knowing even in the midst of all the struggles, 2012 was a necessary year. There were lessons learned through the struggle, disappointments and heartaches. It did not kill me when I felt like it would. It did not win when it seemed as if it had the final say. I am still here and choosing to continue to move forward. I am still learning and living. Therefore, all of it happened for a greater purpose than even I understand right now. I pray we all come to the place of not rushing our lives away and failing to appreciate the journey. We all have a way we must go and it was not promised to us it would be easy, fair or perfect. However, we must choose to trust God knows what is best. We must keep the faith and keep believing it will get better. We must be able to look on the whole picture, even the things which hurt us or made us struggle, with the eyes of gratitude because it built our faith, character, deepened our relationship with God, taught us to pray, and a host of other things. Let us choose to leave 2012 in peace with great expectation for what is to come in 2013. Farewell 2012 and welcome 2013!