I don’t know about you but I was more than happy to see 2013 disappear. While I made new friends, enjoy volunteering, and love the church I go to more often than not 2013 was a year of feeling disillusioned, lost, and hopeless. Like I was standing knee deep in the ocean and being knocked down by wave after wave. Before you know it you’re farther and deeper out than you ever thought you would be and you panic that you will not make it back to the shore. The sand is wet and your feet are sinking, the undertow is strong watery hands around your legs, and time slows down.
I was looking at this mason jar the other day that I made off of Pinterest. Basically you decorate this jar and you fill it with hopes, dreams, good things that happened, and at the end of the year you open it. Or visually you can see the amount of paper you filled up so tangibly you know you had a good year. You know what? I didn’t even fill it half way. I forced myself to count it today to just know how bad it was and you know? There were 13 pieces of paper. 13 for 2013. Literally. And although I know that the year was dry in the majority of ways–it reminded me that my perception is off. I only had 13 memories I wanted to write down that I was grateful or hopeful or proud of.
The Word tells us to be thankful in everything and I know more so than any other time in my life I haven’t been. It’s hard to rejoice when you feel so weighed down, it’s difficult not to feel like a total fool when you thank God for things that aren’t happening in your life, and it’s well, hard to actually mean it.
Although there is no evidence that things will improve and often times I am just going through the motions of saying thank you to God for things that I do not understand or have yet, I still want to be faithful in what I do not see. I want to continue to set the groundwork for thanksgiving so no matter what happens in the future good or bad I will be grateful first and foremost. My pastor once taught that “You can’t always choose what you walk through but you can choose who you look to”. In the midst of this tough season I can choose to be consistent in the song I sing in the storm, I can smile in the storm knowing it is just a shadow.
The shadow might blacken out the light but ultimately it doesn’t have substance. You can’t hold a shadow. And a shadow cannot hold you.
My prayer for 2014 is to see the waves, to see the debris floating around me, but to not let them discourage me. To not allow myself to be swayed no matter how far out the water carries me knowing that ultimately Jesus lifeguards the oceans I am in and will carry me back to the shore.