The turn of a segment of time has always been a thought-provoking experience for me. More provocative is when it’s the end of one decade and the start of a new.
Here is my two-cents on the infinite barrage of New Year blogs.
2010-2019 (The “Learning To Adult” Decade)
I must admit, I view this span of time as not my best years. Minus becoming a father in 2013, I struggle to look back and find things I am just overwhelmingly proud of. In fact, much to my dismay, there are many things I am unproud of. Ups and downs would be putting how the decade felt politely, I suppose. Looking back on it has been pretty disappointing.
Yes, there were good times in there. Yes, I probably would do good to just focus on those instead of the bad. But I can’t help but feel like I have a lot to learn from all the self-inflicted wounds I incurred in the past decade.
One of my favorite passages of scripture is Ecclesiastes chapter 3 because it emphasizes there is a time and place for everything. There is a time to focus on the good, and I have been blessed to have that mindset before… I’ve been there! It’s awesome! It is a gift from God! But I’m just not there this go-round, and I am having to make peace with that. You may say, “Where is your faith?? God is bigger than your problems!”, and whatever other religious babble you can say. To that, I ask that you just keep reading and bear with the negativity for a moment.
This decade had more valleys than hills. Several very dark moments. Moments I look back on and don’t even recognize the man living them. Suffice it to say I just can’t bear to claim that man as me. Was it me? Was it an alter ego? Who is this douche bag???? I would very much like to punch this man in the throat.
Without airing all my dirty laundry, I’ll just get to the point of why I’m alluding to my issues this past decade.
Did I Learn?
When I was younger I took James 1:5 deeply to heart.
“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all without hesitation and without reproach; and it will be given to him.”
I have always expected the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God in which I serve and love, to uphold this promise. With that said, I can say I haven’t arrived.
This wisdom doesn’t have an arrival or destination. It evolves with us. Better yet, we evolve with it.
I do look back on this past decade with displeasure and disdain. But in my reflections, the wisdom inside me bears witness that my Messiah was with me every step of the way. I maybe was unable to comprehend that in those darker times. But I am able to comprehend it now.
He was with me through my sin, my anger, my bitterness, my depression, my distrust, my wanting to give up, my wanting nothing to do with Him, my identity issues, my materialism, my selfishness, my pride, my lust, my doubt, my drunkenness, and on and on and on…
My God never leaves.
My God proved to me throughout both the good and bad times of this past decade that He is a God of relationship. Not the phony- “feel good, I’ma stick around only when it’s good” -kind of relationships. But the real, filthy, roll up your sleeves, HARD WORK kind of relationships. He never expected a surface relationship with me. He proved to me that this is for better or for worse. He proved to me what a real family is all about. We don’t leave. We embrace. We don’t conceal it. We face it.
I learned to trust my God on a level that only He can instill because He is the one who promises to prove His faithfulness. It’s one thing to see it proven in The Bible time and again. But when we entrust the Holy Spirit of God to entwine Himself to our spirit personally you begin to understand it more on, well, a personal level. This is where the foundations of unshakable trust are laid. This is where you become more reliant on who God is in your life rather than what He does in your life. There is nothing wrong with what He can do in your life, obviously. But it is far better to know who He is. To KNOW that He is for you. To KNOW that He will complete the good work He began in you. To KNOW He loves, loves, loves you.
So ultimately, yes, I learned. But probably the hard way. I do believe God can reveal wisdom in ways that best suit the individual, so maybe for me, I learned these life lessons best via the hard way.
Goals for 2020-2029
My family is the most important thing to me on this Earth. Whatever the Lord is doing in my heart, I want it to pertain to how I can be more selfless for my family. How well I love and serve my family. Learning to love others properly starts with how we love our families.
Also, I want to love others the way I am loved by God and my family. Jesus said it Himself, Matthew 22:37-40; the entire summation of the Law and Prophets can be fulfilled in- Loving God with your entire being, and loving your neighbor as yourself.
When I stand before Messiah and He asks me, “Did you learn to love?”, I want to be able to say yes without hesitation or doubt. We are without excuse on how to love because He displayed it perfectly for us. It’s the kind of love that is who I am more so than what I do.
Do I truly LOVE people?!
That is my focus for the next decade. Becoming rather than doing. Because I know the more I become like Him, the more I will do like Him.
I pray shalom to all who read this. My hope is that there might be some who could glean whatever insight the Lord would reveal to them through this.
Happy New Year! Happy New Decade!
-From Death To Life