This year was characterized by losing track of things.
Small things, like just barely losing track of my goal to read one book a month (I read eleven, and that’s eons better than the last two years). Medium-sized things, like losing track of time almost every morning and coming in later to work than I aim to. Big things, like losing track of who I’ve become in the last year. Allow me to explain.
It’s not that I’ve become someone I don’t want to be. It’s more like I’ve gotten a little out of hand as I’ve learned more about who I really am. It almost seems like I’ve overshot myself. In order to really dissect this, I’ve had to take myself back to late last year, when I started taking serious strides to work through my anxiety, pin-pointing and beginning to heal from things that had crippled my sense of self-worth and my ability to go after the things I both wanted and needed.
I learned to be more confident in who I’ve been created to be, a (mostly) reserved quirk, with a lot of thoughts (not to be confused with opinions) and an aptness for both order and flexibility. I learned to try new things and do what was best for me without fretting too much about the ripple effect. I learned to push through my reservations for things and experiences I wouldn’t have chosen on my own, friends and mentors encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone and live a little, or to choose to close doors I didn’t need to leave open and knock on the ones that caught my eye. I learned to cope when things fell apart around me (and these things tend to always happen all at once), how to trust and breathe and keep moving forward. I saw myself at what I feel was the mental-healthiest I’ve been in ages this year. I also saw myself at what I believe is my most selfish. And what looks to the outside world as natural and acceptable was gnawing tortuously at my heart when I saw what looked like waves rolling away from me.
Last year, I chose to focus on the words “assured,” “sacrificial,” and “prayerful.” It is so clear to me how God has brought me from a place of heavy anxiety to a place of assuredness, to a place where worry does not commonly characterize my self-talk and where I am more convinced of his love and faithfulness than ever before. The Lord has taught me in light and heavy ways the way of the word “sacrifice,” through seasons where I’ve felt used up completely as I worked through scars from the past and questions for the future and meaningful projects in the now. I’ve been convicted more than ever in regards to prayer, singing my soul to the Lord on late night drives and in moments of panic, but withholding so much from the Father who already knows my most desperate needs and is ready to give me the grace I need so desperately.
The thing about these words is that God is always orchestrating my relationship with him and with others in these ways (and in infinite other ways as well) and he has been since I wasn’t able to even comprehend the meaning of these words. Looking at how he’s worked this year in these particular ways, and how my human and broken mind and heart have screwed them up even alongside his working, I’ve become so aware of my need for grace, forgiveness and compassion. “Grace” from my savior. “Forgiveness” from those I’ve hurt and neglected. “Compassion” for myself in my broken and constant struggle to learn from my mistakes.
I’m praying 2019 will prove to be a year of allowing myself to be, allowing myself to question and struggle, to ask for forgiveness and to be able to accept it. To trust when things seem to be out of control (let’s face it, when are we ever in control?), to receive the healing he wants to lavish on my pain and my doubt, to submit my decisions and desires to his perfect design. And to give myself that grace when these things are easier said than done. Scripture is clear that I am made to be his, and it is a constant process. I am being made into a dwelling place. (Ephesians 2.22) His spirit inside me, my unique and worthy-of-love head on my shoulders, my failures and sins erased by none but the King himself, the perfect lamb who knows my needs and is no stranger to my weaknesses.