life, My Faith

Still learning (again)

The end of the year always brings contemplation. What did we learn this year? What do we hope to do next year? As one of my people and I start planning our “Goals Weekend” for January (more on this later), I think it has made me think more about this year and where we’re headed.

2018 has not been kind in a lot of ways, but yet it’s been so kind in others. It saw so many hard challenges. But, it saw so much growth. It brought me my people, and I cannot survive this life without them. It’s given me great people in all spheres who have poured into my life and encouraged me. It brought me a renewed relationship with my God, that I still sometimes struggle to maintain. I can’t say I’m sad to see 2018 go though because I will carry the good things and people with me forward and hopefully leave the bad behind as memories and lessons.

But some of the struggles will likely come too. The last few weeks illustrate more than ever that I still struggle with control. I mean it’s part of my personality so it’s likely something I will always struggle with. The more out of control things become, the more I want to grab on tighter, to gather all the other things together so as not to lose any of them either. Which, as you can imagine, just compounds the problem. I mean have you ever tried to pick a bunch of stuff up at once. If you’re like me, cursed with the little hands, you know the more you pick up, the more you drop. Oh, if that’s not true in real life, I dunno what is.

When I reflect, my attempt at giving up control is almost humorous, in a sad kind of way. I think I was trying to control giving up control. “Ok, I don’t have to be in control but this is how you have to do it.” I can probably give up control if I’m going to like the outcome, if the outcome is going to look like what I wanted it to. But if I don’t know what’s going to happen if you (or God) controls it, then I’m much more comfortable maintaining control. Clearly that’s silly.

But the habit goes deep. I struggle to give up control to people too. If I’m doing something and people offer to help, I can sometimes allow help if it will not alter the final product to match the picture in my head. It’s no wonder I do that to God too.

I want to challenge myself to get to the place where I can say even if the outcome is different from what I imagined, or even wanted, it’s no less beautiful, it’s no less important, and it’s no less right. Everything does not have to come out exactly how I want it to, in life, in art, in any of the things. But I’m not sure how to get there yet.

Control is a heavy thing for me because I know that things don’t always work out how I want them to. I know that bad things happen. I know that people get sick, people get hurt, and people die regardless of who is in control. I want to know in my heart that God’s ways are the best, not my ways. I want to feel that he is kind regardless of my circumstances. I’m working on it.

So as I wave a not sad goodbye to 2018, I hope 2019 brings with it growth. I hope it brings all the good of this year. I hope the challenges are a little easier. (I also hope my body chooses to behave itself.)

I look forward to embracing the year, loving my people well and allowing them to love me well. I strive to let go of the things that bring me heartache, including the overwhelming need to be perfect. I hope to be able to serve God and others in the way that He chooses.

I hope to embrace the future with wonder and excitement and strive to let go of the feeling that bad is lurking around every corner. I hope to make a mark in 2019 that begins something that will continue (whatever that may mean). I hope you also begin to look forward to what 2019 may bring for you as we say goodbye to 2018 in the next few weeks.

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