2016 – a year with no fear

It’s been over a year since I last wrote on this blog, or even visited it. Since then my life has changed dramatically in every area. This year I am getting married and moving to a different country. I still work for the Storehouse and love it, but I also have a second job in my church which keeps me on my toes too! I’ve learned many lessons, and forgotten many lessons, and relearned some. I’ve had days where I’m full of joie de vive, and days where I struggle with even getting out of bed.

Such is life.

As we move into a new year, social media is increasingly filled with people reminiscing about the year passed and anticipating the year ahead. If someone owned copyright on the phrase ‘there have been many highs and lows’ they would have made an absolute fortune in the past few days. And people who write this aren’t wrong, as every year has highs and lows, and every year people write ‘it’s been a year of highs and lows’, and they are observing a truth. But there’s something more to this observation.

This new year, I have been over in Norway. For New Years Eve, we had a family dinner then headed out a little before midnight to watch the fireworks. The house we were in was conveniently situated on a hill, and the view was filled with fireworks (and lots of smoke from them!). The sight was wonderful and I stood in silence, admiring the variety of colours and how they lit up the sky.

Naturally, my thoughts turned to what 2015 had been like, and what I might expect from 2016. But before I could think about any specific events or things, I was overwhelmed by one thought.

A lot has happened in 2015, but I’ve made it through and I am okay.

That’s not to say my year has been horrific because it definitely hasn’t. I simply mean that through everything, both good and bad, I have been okay. I have survived. I can’t express how amazing this thought was to me as I stood in the cold air. And then it occurred to me that no matter what happens this year, good or bad, I will be okay too.

We humans are quite good at being resilient. I have faced hard things this past year. People I know have faced harder things still. But we are still here, and we are still okay. And we may try and fail, we may face illness and attacks and even death, but we will still be okay.

Because our lives really aren’t our own. We can choose what we fill them with, what paths we take, but we can’t control everything about them. I believe there is a God who does that; who works all things for our good. And this doesn’t mean stopping bad things from happening. I’m reading a devotional at the moment about what we do when God’s plans don’t make sense to us, and He feels distant and cold. I’ve experienced that. And the most interesting thing I have learned is that the root Latin meaning of ‘comfort’ is ‘together-strength’. Not ‘making your life easy’ but ‘being with you and being strong in every situation’. I like that. God’s comfort is not making our paths easier but instead is the knowledge that we face nothing alone. And if we face all things with Him, and He is stronger than all things, then we will be okay no matter what.

This makes me feel free in a way I haven’t felt before. Life is the way it is. We can change some things about it – the activities we do, the places we live, the people we hang out with – but there will always be highs and lows. And if you fail, or have a hard situation to face, even if it doesn’t feel like it you will come out on the other side and you will be okay. Even if the other side means you are no longer on this earth – because then you get to experience heaven instead!

This year, I am going to face my fear of engaging with life. I have been far too comfortable with my little zone I have made for myself, with no need to use my brain or push myself to new limits. Somehow I think being married and living in a foreign country may help this! But as I move into a year where I feel more like a genuine adult than I have before, I am determined to live by the truth that I am never alone and I have nothing to fear.

Come join me.

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