As the sun sets on yet another year (and another decade), I can’t help but write about all that has transpired in our most recent twelve-month whirlwind.
2019 has been the most formidable year of my life.
I’ve laughed. I’ve cried.
I’ve smiled every day and frowned a little, too (not that much, though, I heard it gives you wrinkles).
I’ve failed. I’ve succeeded.
I’ve matured moreso than ever and learned quite a few lessons in the process.
Amidst the tumultuous winds of 2019, however, I’ve come to appreciate ‘growth’ for all that it is.
I’ve discovered that growth is always accompanied by growing pains.
I’ve learned that just as growth is beautiful, it is also challenging.
And I’ve observed that, as with almost everything, growth requires rain.
2019 has certainly been a year of growth . . .
B U T
It has also been a year of tears, frustration, confusion, and loads of learning curves.
Do you want to know something absolutely wonderful, though? A truth that will radically transform your life and overwhelm your hurting heart with peace—true God-given peace?
Well, here it is . . .
God is good.
Yep. There it is.
God is always good—constant and never changing—even when life seems to be anything but.
He is always faithful.
He is always forgiving.
And He is always working behind the scenes, fashioning these difficult times into something beautiful.
If you’ve found yourself within a season of preparation, I urge you to patiently wait on God.
If you’re drowning in a sea of uncertainty, I urge you to rest in the sweet sovereignty of your Savior.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, I urge you to run to the Rock that is higher than yourself.
And if you’re just needing help, I urge you to turn to God in prayer and talk to Him about your needs.
Study the character of God and rejoice in His proven promises.
Bring your burdens to Him (without attempting to take them back).
To put it simply, remove yourself from the driver’s seat of your life.
Let God drive.
You won’t ever regret it.
Just give it all to Him.
With that being said, 2019 has been pretty great—full of many wonderful lessons and incredible eye-openers.
So, without further ado, here are three lessons learned from a growing green-house:
1.) God knows what’s best, not you.
- Sorry, but it’s true. Micro-managing your life will only lead to macro-ruining it. Give God the pen and let Him write your story. He is sovereign over all and has crafted a beautiful plan for each one of His children—a plan that will always usurp the plans/ideas that we have crafted for ourselves. His will is far more beautiful than we can imagine, and He knows what we need before we do. Regardless of how talented, how popular, how passionate, or even how intelligent . . . we will never know best. Get out of the driver’s seat and let God direct the life that He alone created. // Is. 46:9-10, Job 21:22, Psalm 147:4-5, Luke 12:7a //
2.) Where you find your core identity will determine the trajectory of your life.
- Identity has been a monumental word for me lately. I’ve written on it a lot, so I won’t bore you with my rambling, but here’s the deal: As believers, we are defined by Jesus Christ and Him alone. Once redeemed through His work on the cross, you are now a daughter/son of God. Society may promise freedom, but it only delivers oppression. The earthly “fulfillment” after which we so often seek is shallow and absolutely futile. As God’s children, the things, people, and systems of this world no longer define us. We have been made new . . . and it’s time we live like it. // Eph. 2:4-22//
3.) Fellowship, not isolation, is the answer.
- When we feel overwhelmed or frustrated, one of our most foundational responses is to isolate ourselves from the outside world. We prefer to sulk in a misshapen sense of self-pity than to seek counsel from wiser, more emotionally-sound Christian friends. This is not to say that taking time to be alone—to pray, think, and listen to the still, small voice of God—is wrong (in fact, it’s crucial that we secure time to do this!), but we ought never to isolate ourselves from the people who can help. When Elijah felt alone, distressed, and quite frankly, suicidal, the Lord met his physical needs first . . . and then blessed him with the beauty of biblical companionship through Elisha. One of the biggest lies you will ever hear is that your friends don’t matter. They do—-they matter a lot. The people with which you surround yourself will, sooner or later, determine your surroundings. // 1 Kings 19:3-21, Pro. 27:9, 1 Cor. 15:33, Pro. 13:20, Pro. 27:17, Pro. 12:26 //
There is oh-so-much more I wish I could say and so many more lessons I wish I could share, but I’m having trouble articulating everything as deeply as I had hoped. Nevertheless, I’ll save these truths for another time.
As we look toward 2020 with hopeful anticipation, however, I pray that this is a year of blossoming—a year of spiritual, relational, and emotional growth. I pray that it is a year abounding with clearer vision and laser focus—a year in which God makes His ways abundantly certain, as we seek to follow His will more fully.
Well, because just as plants need rain to grow, they also need a whole lot of sunshine, too.
May we never lose sight of the sun’s glistening rays . . . even amidst the rainiest of days.
May we faithfully heed the lessons learned through each raindrop.
May we always remember that every day—even the cloudy ones—are wonderful gifts to an undeserving mankind.
And, may the tears shed this past year, water the seeds in the coming one.
Happy New Year, guys.