I usually try to steer away from too much reflection at the end of each year, but this year I can't help it. What a year it's been! I want to take this time to let you in on some of my thoughts concerning my journey this past year. Instead of blabbing on for ever, I thought I would do a sort of David Letterman "Top 10."
Top 3 things I've learned in 2015!
#3 - Risk is good
Before this year I was so scared of trying things, because I was afraid of failure. I mean, I still struggle with this, but I'm getting better at risking because most of this Job is working in and with uncertainty. Risk is becoming a close friend of mine. It's helped me grow and learn to relax and not sweat the small stuff as much. From starting a mid-week group at the church, to fundraising, to doing more public speaking than ever before, learning to just try, and be vulnerable has been a slow and healthy process. Even though it's been hard.
#2 - My Identity is not rooted in my reputation
I know I've talked about this before, but It's been monumental for personal growth. It's funny how words can be so freeing. I have been plagued with caring so much about what people think of me for much of my life. But ever since my friend/mentor put words around what I where I was tapping my value from, I've felt like a different person. I have some weaponry for when I get into people pleasing mode. It gives me a chance to think "my identity is not rooted in my reputation, but is rooted in being a disciple of Jesus." It also puts the focus off me. When I'm trying to please people, it's really centred around my feelings and sense of worth. I want people to approve of me, and think I'm intelligent, funny, capable...WHATEVER. But, in having my Identity rooted in being a disciple of Christ, it switches from wanting to be affirmed all the time to wanting to affirm others. Language is powerful.
#3 - You have to learn to love the bomb
By that i mean you have to learn to love the thing that you're most afraid of. You have to learn to steer toward fear, don't try to avoid it. I love this! Man, did I get a bomb this year with Jordan dying, but this is why I've been able to face my brothers death head on, and come out on the other side with so much Joy and gratitude. I understand now that embracing suffering and the things your most afraid of brings great joy. Through Jordan's dying I was able to get to know Jordan to depths that I would never have approached before. The intimacy that I got to experience with him during those times....I've never experienced anything like it. It was mystifying and beautiful. I got a chance to truly present with my brother. The real Jordan, with all the BS stripped away. I'm especially grateful for his last 2 months. Even though he was physically decaying in front of me, he radiated the kingdom of God in every interaction he had. I got to witness that. In a strange way I think he was fully alive in those last 2 months. If nothing else. Suffering provides options for response. I could look back on those awful times in the hospice with bitterness against God for allowing this, but that just leads to anger and more sorrow. "You have to learn to love the bomb." My brother dying is the last thing I wanted to happen. But, by embracing his death as seeing it as a great gift, I feel so thankful and Joyful. Both the good and bad in life are gifts, because life itself is a gift. Sounds strange doesn't it? Isn't this what the bible is getting at with "the magnificat?" (Luke 1:46-55) We have so little control in this life, but we do have control in our response. And besides...What's the chief end of Man? To glorify God and to enjoy him forever. (shout out to you Anglicans out there!)
Looks like my "Top 3" are all connected in some way. Interesting....
Gazing forward into 2016, I feel more equipped than ever before. I have a sense of peace and optimism, and I feel ready to lean into fear with confidence. This apprenticeship has been instrumental in growing in this way. I think it was a smart move to take this position at The Table. I'm looking forward to seeing how God is going to use me in 2016. Thank you all for helping me to grow. I'm so grateful, that I have people in my life who believe in me and have such hope for my future.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Things you can pray for:
- I'm still in fundraising mode because a major donor had to drop out. Pray that God will help to fill that gap. Fundraising is hard. Good, but hard. If you have any questions about where I'm at financially, please drop me and email or give me a call.