It’s the end of another year and there’s so much that could be said as we look back over the year, and then ahead to a new year. To be honest, for the past few years, I’ve just been thankful to close the calendar at the end of each year. I haven’t done much looking back – some, but not much. What I have done is simply hoped for something better for the year ahead.
Last night I was on Facebook for a few minutes and saw a video that someone had posted. It was one of those videos where Facebook pulls your “most-liked” images and compiles them. It was late, and I decided to let Facebook “compile” mine while the muffins I made finished baking.
I don’t know what I was expecting – maybe a reflection of how I feel the past few years have been: messy, ugly, fearful.
Now we all know that people really only share their “highlights reels” on social media, right?
For those of us who have endured a trauma, it turns out that a “highlights reel” might be a blessing in disguise!
As I sat and watched my video of 2016, do you know what I found?
ALL THE GOOD STUFF!
All of it – from the benefit concert that my son hosted, to the reminder of things that are “staples” in our lives (piano lessons), to my daughter turning 10, to my 17th wedding anniversary.
Do you know what was missing from my video?
All of the struggles I remembered from this year.
That doesn’t mean they didn’t happen, but it also reminded me that I can choose to release them.
I thought back to other years – the past couple years, in fact, that have seemed the most painful. While I could remember the details of the darkest moments, I also realized that I had let go of them somewhere along the way. (What a beautiful realization!)
I’ve recently started using a truth journaling process – it really helps me to focus on the truth in a tough situation and it helps me get “unstuck” from my perception of what’s going on. This technique has come in handy when I get in a situation where I feel my own fear or anxiety rising up. I’ve been thinking back over the past couple of years and viewing my perceptions and fears, and then “writing” over them with truth. For example, I can now look back at situations where I felt fear. I’m able to see why the situation happened, and tell myself the truth (not the fear) about what was happening. This has been so important in my ability to heal. You can read more about the truth journaling here.
This morning on Instagram, I read the following quote:
When you face a struggle in your marriage, remind yourself that the struggle will become a story someday. It will either be a story about why you divorced or a story about how you worked together to build a stronger marriage. You get to decide which story comes true. – DaveWillis.org
We get to decide which story comes true. We get the opportunity to stand and fight for our marriage. I realize that it takes both spouses to make the marriage work, but let’s be sure we’re doing our part.
Friends, the key here is that we choose what we take into the new year with us.
What do you want the year ahead to look like? What do you want to remember from this year?
What do you want?
Do you remember the story of “Blind Bartimaeus”? (Mark 10:46-52)
Bartimaeus was a beggar who sat by the side of the road. When he heard that Jesus was passing by, he shouted out to Him, begging for mercy. Many people told him to be quiet, but he called out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Jesus stopped and called for Bartimaeus. Now Bartimaeus was blind…couldn’t see…needed his sight.
But what does Jesus do? He could have healed him on the spot. He could have healed him before Bartimaeus even got to Him. He could have healed Bartimaeus from afar. He doesn’t do any of those things right away, though.
Jesus asks, “What do you want me to do for you?”
It’s obvious, right? Bartimaeus is B L I N D.
But Jesus puts the ball back in Bartimaeus’ court. He asks him, “What do you want me to do for you?”
“The blind man said, ‘Rabbi, I want to see.'”
I want to see!
I think I’ve known my word for 2017 for some time now, but I haven’t been able to work out how to get from where I was to where I knew I needed to be.
A couple weeks ago, a new word dropped into my heart, but it made no sense with what I thought my word would be for the new year. I’ve spent time really praying through both words, not sure if I should be combining them, thinking about both, or if I really just needed more sleep!
You know that, as a general rule, when you go through a trauma there are often triggers that can bring up some of those emotions again. I still struggle with some of those – not as badly, they’re going away, but there are still a few triggers that bring up the fear and anxiety. And if I named them, they would seem silly – a knock at the door, a car parked across the street. But these are parts of my story that bring up a moment of panic.
Last night, I asked my husband when he thought I’d be free from those triggers. I have prayed about them, I have found ways to sort of move forward, but really want to be done with them.
His answer surprised me. He said, “I wonder if it’s kind of up to you. Like you decide today is the day you will move forward.”
Maybe when I’m ready to release the fear, I’ll move forward.
The word that has dropped into my heart the past couple weeks is the word RELEASE.
My husband didn’t know that – I hadn’t told him.
But his answer to me had to do with my own releasing of my feelings.
Why do I have to release those feelings?
Because I want to see!
I want to see JOY in my life again – true, deep joy!
My word for the new year is JOY!
Over the past few years, as the Lord has given new words each year, I’ve learned about the word – the meaning, the use, verses to go with each one. But I’ve also learned the word by experiencing the opposite of each word.
HOPE – this was the word for 2014, after the most hopeless situation in 2013.
REDEMPTION – from 2015, after truly understanding that our actions carry consequences.
OVERCOME – the word for 2016, after thinking I had been buried, only to find I’d been planted.
JOY – for 2017, knowing that God has carried me through what I hope is the very worst, what could have killed me, yet He’s cared for me each step of the way and is breathing life back into me again.
As I look at the words the Lord has given me, I can see a definite pattern in the words, and how they’ve been leading to my healing. Beyond that, though, these words have applied in many areas in my life – not just in my marriage. It’s been a blessing to see how God is using these words.
What is it that you need from the Lord? What is it that you want to carry into the new year?
If the Lord was standing before you, and He asked, “What do you want me to do for you,” what would your answer be? Be honest – no matter how obvious the answer seems. After all, Bartimaeus was blind.
What do you want?
I’d love if you’d share your answers in the comments or in an email.