This is it folks, we have entered the final day of what has been 2013 and I don’t quite know what to say. The festive season and especially 31 December always is a time of reflection, for most at least, and I am no different. Fact is, I am so tired of thinking and talking and trying to figure things out that I have chosen to spend this festive season (mostly) alone.
Instead of allowing my mind to wander off into the vast Neverland of regrets and blame and what-could-have-been’s and what-should-have-been’s, I’ve chosen to drown myself in murder mystery novels by Mark Billingham (my favourite author for the moment). Unfortunately, however, that option proved to be no guarantee that the wild elephant in my head won’t go running off into his own direction. No sirree! There comes a point where you snap back to what you are reading and you see DCI Thorne interrogating someone, reflecting on names and places that you have no clue about. That’s the point where you turn back a page or two or fifteen and get back into the story. Don’t get me wrong, Billingham is brilliant and each one of his novels that I have devoured over the past couple of days have proven to be nail-biters, riveting stuff indeed.
Somehow the elephant in my head just seem to be a bit more powerful at times than the most tantalizing tales being twisted.
Twisting tales, now there is something which rang very true for me off late. When last did you stop to consider the pretty (and not so pretty) little lies we keep telling ourselves and others? Even more gut-wrenching, what about the pretty (and again, not so pretty) little (and big) lies we are fed by others? The “truths” we suck up and build our beliefs in a person, in ourselves and in society on. Then one day someone comes along who rips the carpet from under your feet and you are left standing there naked, broken and shaking.
So you reckon you don’t tell yourself any lies? Mmm, I have lived under the same cloud of denial for a long, long time – 18 years to be precise. We all have certain experiences which shape who and what we are and how we act and re-act to situations. Without going into too much detail right now, I’ll try and paint a picture to help you come to an understanding. My experiences have led me down a path with many a dark corner and alleyway. The day came when I reached the point where I decided “to take control”. I have it all under wraps, I am in control, I am a survivor. I took the past, dug a hole, buried it, built a wall over it, plastered the wall and painted it. Heck, I even added the picture frames and pretty flowers. I have it all under wraps, I am in control, I am a survivor – that’s what I told myself at least.
If it had stayed that way, I would have been perfectly happy with myself, with who I am, what I do, why I say certain things or why I respond to situations the way I do. If it had stayed that way, I would not have been left questioning the core of my being. But it didn’t and I am. That, my friends, is where the elephant jumps with joy and starts running around like a kid in a toy shop, not sure where to start or where to stop. You see, one half of me, and I am not sure whether it is my heart or my head, knows that it is a good thing that wall got broken down and the earth upturned. The other half, however, rebels against it. No tantrum by a two-year old comes close to the fuss it’s kicking up inside of me. It makes me sad and angry and disappointed and scared to know that the earth is no longer firmly cemented down and that I have to rebuild everything I have believed about myself up to this point.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, I’m not quite sure which, zooming in on the lies we have been telling ourselves all along, leads us to become painfully aware of the lies we are being fed by others and, even worse, the ones we choose to belief or overlook. This is the point where you start seeing smoke being blown into the mirrors we reflect in for what it is, and before you know it, you are facing Pandora’s Box. A couple of days ago I was talking to someone about the pretty (and not so pretty) little (and not so little) lies. He remarked that there are three levels of lying: white, grey and black, if you will. White lies being the forgivable ones, the ones we can overlook and forget about; and black lies being the blatant, unforgivable ones which changes the course of your life. Sadly though, if you look at it closely a lie is still a lie. White or black, intended or not, they all seem to have the same effect. Somewhere along the way someone ends up getting hurt.
As I always do on the 31st of December, I look back at my first post of the year. I can truly say that for the first time ever, I am looking at those first posts and learning from the habits in them. The main factor in all of them and sadly most of my life has been me and what I want to do and how I want to do those things and what I want to accomplish. No wonder none of it panned out the way it was “supposed” to.
Now, just before you think this post is all doom and gloom, let me assure you, it’s not. We have to see the dark in order to appreciate the light. Through it all there has been one factor, THE FACTOR, which has brought me to this point today, where I can sit back and smile.
You see, I have come to realize that for as long as I try to do things my way, in my strength I will just keep repeating the same old patterns and regardless of how many times the calendar ticks over from 31 December to 1 January, nothing will change. I might have my moments of joy or bitter pain; I might experience elation or agony, but it will all still just be the same. My plans fail because I have been living as a natural being having a spiritual experience. My plans are futile and bring nothing to fruition.
It really is that simple. I am a spiritual being having a natural experience. Through all of this, God has given me peace and hope. Through everything it brings joy to my spirit to know that God has plans (please note: plural!) for my life. He knows the end before we see the beginning. He wants me to have hope, joy, peace and prosperity. He knows what’s in store for me and those things are all good.
In 2014 I chose to let God direct my footsteps, I chose to live according to His will for my life, I chose to step into that Kairos moment where I can see and experience His plans for me.
How will I manage to stick to this? I am making Jeremiah 29:11 my #versefor2014 and I will live by it every day. It’s my wallpaper on my phone, I’m printing copies and sticking it up at the office and at home. What it boils down to is that I am making the verse my slogan for the year and making it as visible as possible. In terms of living according to God’s plan for my life, I’ve enrolled for a three-year Bachelors Degree in Ministry which kicks off at the end of January. Putting on my student shoes after so many years are proving to me more exciting than scary, and I’m taking that as being where God wants me to be for now.
Other than this, I am not making any other grand decisions for the year to come. I am not promising myself anything or make any big resolutions. In the past it has proven to be less than successful and it’s really nice to know that I can hand over the steering wheel of my life to the Creator of all.
May your year ahead be filled with all things good and may God be a visible force at work in your life.
Jesus at the center of it all!