2012 is 2 hours and 44 minutes away from being over. Frankly, I’m quite glad. I’ve been waiting for a while for this year to be over. The prospect of 2012 signaled the end of school, the opening of doors, the start of life. School was life, yes, but life I was ready to be finished with. I’d been there too long. I’ve been in the same culture, the same society, the same place, with the same people, since I was 4. For an adventurous type like me, one who wants to explore and discover, that is a very long time. But now it is over, and while I will always be incredibly grateful for my school and the experiences I had there, and while I will always look back on these memories fondly, I am ready for the next, new season of my life.
I’m trying to think of a word to sum up 2012. It was somewhat of a dragging year, I spent a fair amount of time wishing I could hurry it up. But at the same time it was also exciting, being the last year of this 18-year-long season of my life. Faith-wise, I grew. It’s been a hard year, but I think my understanding of God and who He is is growing ever bigger. It’s deepening, and becoming my own rather than the stuff of those around me. Funnily enough, this was the year that I questioned faith, probably more than I ever have. I had many doubtful moments, many weeks where I unintentionally pushed God aside. But absence does make the heart grow fonder, and I’ve begun to realise just what life without God means. Indeed some parts of it are tempting, alluring even. But the cons definitely outweigh the pros on this one. Psalm 73 – the perfect example. Life seems brilliant and carefree, but at the end of the day? Eternity comes into play.
I’ve also been evaluating my convictions and standards this year. The world as a whole throws enough differing standards at us, let alone the Christian society. I sit in wonder at the sheer amount of different values held by Christians. I thought that might be a bad thing – how could it not be? but lately I’m holding a different opinion. People I’ve talked to, known, with different standards all have faith in the same God, who are in relationship with Him. They pray about their decisions, and yet their decisions are different. Maybe that’s how it was meant to be. I’m not talking about things that are clearly set in the Bible. Some things are not disputable. But other things that aren’t clear – I used to think there must be one single answer for everything. But all these different ways – these people are following the same God. Maybe He works through everyone differently. There’s obviously still a lot for me to sort out in this issue, not least of which are my own personal standards.
I had a thought the other day – a dangerous thing, I know. I was considering the importance of strict values and standards and giving everything up for God in my life, wondering if that was really a necessity of being a follower of Jesus. Naturally, I thought, ‘I believe in Jesus, I have a relationship with Him, isn’t that all I need to do?’ But then God followed along and said, ‘Yes, and if you believe in Jesus, isn’t that very fact enough to change your life?’ And truth is, it should be. It is. Believing in Jesus shouldn’t be the thing that ‘is all that matters in the Christian life’, it should be the very thing that prompts us to lay down our lives for the one who laid down His life for us. People dispute that Jesus came down to earth in human form, grew as both man and God and died on the cross for us, me, then rose to life 3 days later to claim His place at the right hand of God, His Father. Some, like me, say ‘I believe’ and we really do, but it stops there. That very fact, that utterly radical, ridiculous notion that the Son of God would do that, should be, is more than enough to turn our lives upside down. Believing isn’t enough, because if I believe then I have said yes to this radical, ridiculous, joy-filled journey. There’s no believe-and-stop-there. If we truly believe, then there is only believe-and-be-moulded-from-the-inside-out, ready to walk this life in step with the God of justice who loves us beyond comprehension.
2012 – I suppose it was a year of questions. Reshuffling and moulding. Not a year when things changed and grew into something better – more of a year when things started being mixed up and changed – the beginning of a different journey. Not a terribly dramatic year, nothing huge, but definitely an ending and a subtle movement into newness. I’m guessing 2013 will be the year of significant change seeing as it’s when just about everything new in my life is starting – especially uni. 2012 has been more of a transition – I think that’s about the best word to describe it.
Hopes for the years ahead? Well, thinking short term, I’d love a license and a car by my 19th birthday. Slightly more long term, it’s a big desire of mine to go on exchange. Live in a different place, experience the world for myself, make the memories, discover the presence of God in other places around the world. I want to meet new people, both this next year at uni and from around the world. I want to find that thing that stirs me, the thing I want to do for the rest of my life. I’m doing a double degree at uni – potentially the broadest thing I could do, a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts. My prayer is that God would lead me into those subjects that will lead me to the thing I need to do. I know I have a place in this world that only I can fill, because God made me for it. I want to find that place. I know it will come in due time, but I pray that God will direct my steps over the next few years so that His will may work out perfectly.
So, transition year of 2012, fare thee well. You were a bit slow at times, and you probably weren’t my favourite. But you were and are very important to me, and without you I couldn’t go forward into whatever it is that’s ahead of me. So thank you.