By Paul Gomez
Finally! We made it! How was your year? What did you learn about yourself? Before you really drop all that baggage at the threshold of 2019, take a moment to reflect on how you define 2018.
Growing up in Las Vegas, New Year's Eve was always a pretty big deal for me. I remember staying up until midnight to watch the entire Strip light up in an explosion of reds and blues and then toasting a cup of apple cider to a year well lived alongside my brothers. Although, growing older, I've begun to notice that many folks just want to dispose of the previous year as soon as possible. Why are we so hasty to leave an entire 365 days of life behind us?
I'll be the first to admit that my year was far from perfect--but far from terrible. My life was turned upside down in 2018, I let go of many friendships and moved 1700 miles to a new city for a new job. Some of my best moments occurred in 2018 while some of the greatest heartache did as well. It was a year of patience – I kept waiting for others only to be let down repeatedly, and it was in those letdowns that I really figured out the whole trusting in God thing. The rejection I experienced set me up for an independence from people and a reinforced dependence on God.
Often times we are so involved in reviewing our year thinking 'look what I went through' when we should be asking, "Having gone through all of that, what was God preparing me to shine for?" Even through my worst struggles, I was still able to come out of the year resilient with the knowledge and experience to help me take 2019 by the horns.
Be wary of jumping the gun and expecting this year to be better than the last. Doing so may leave you unprepared for the difficult experiences of the new year. Sometimes the things to which we escape end up hurting us the most. Like running from loneliness to a relationship that will leave you feeling a deeper loneliness and hurt in the end. It just isn't worth rushing God. Nevertheless, transition is traumatic. You may not have asked for it, but change will always find its way into your life.
You don't just show up to the New Year's Party with trauma, though, you also bring trophies. After all the trials of the previous year, you made it. You grew, learned, and laughed at one point or another in the last twelve months - and that alone is worth celebrating. The bad things you went through did not destroy you, but could offer a deliverance from what you just came out of. All things work together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). God uses what you went through to set you free from where you came. And if you haven't broken out of that place yet, make that escape happen this year.
Maybe it isn't about what God did or didn't do for you this year. The simple fact that you lived to see another year is plenty to be grateful for. Just because the calendar changes doesn't mean your life will. Look back at 2018 like everything was a blessing or a lesson. It's ok to be disappointed about the past 12 months, but you can't just drop it off. You didn't go through the year just to wave goodbye to it.
What will you ask at the end of 2019: What you went through? Or what God did in you?
Paul Gomez is the Manager, Hispanic/Latino Seeker Communications at United Methodist Communications. He hails from Las Vegas, NV and currently lives in Nashville, TN.
Contact: [email protected] or +1 (615) 312-3550
[Posted January 11, 2019]