Are there times you have gone through something so painful that you would prefer to erase it from your memory? I know I have! In fact, I remember how often I used to watch Mexican Telenovelas (or soap operas) and 99% of the time someone had to get partial amnesia. When I thought of remembering some of those painful moments, I’d wonder why I couldn’t wield this Telenovela-magic called selective amnesia. But I have come a long way – emotionally and in the type of TV shows I watch (thank God!). I have come a long way and learnt that sometimes I need to look back in order to move forward.
2018 in Hindsight
I talked briefly about 2018 in the last post. It was a difficult year. It was a rollercoaster of emotions stringed together by a trail of disappointments. Allow me to go against every bone in my body and be vulnerable for a quick second. At one point in the year, I lost hope. I had never experienced anything like it in my 20-something years in life. I was, and I don’t say this lightly, depressed: I sunk into myself and I stayed there. I remember writing this post about prayer and I laugh. I laugh because there was nothing in there about “when your GPS seemed silent.” (If you read the post you will get the reference). All the same, that doesn’t change the truth shared in the post.
I complained a lot in the past year. If I wasn’t doing it verbally, I was definitely doing it in my thoughts; in my heart. I gave up on a lot, engaged in negative talk, made bad decisions, ignored my instincts and let circumstances change a big part of who I am. In short, it rained and it poured. That’s not to say that the year didn’t have some positive things too (because it did), but for the better part, I couldn’t wait for the year to get over and done with. Somewhere towards the end, I was crippled by fear that 2019 would be the same: nothing would change.
There was a time when I could go on and on about how awful the year was, but that has since changed. I tell that story not to start a pity party but to encourage someone who’s reading this and can relate. The previous year doesn’t have to cripple the new one. In fact, looking back at it and dealing with the pain and disappointments can be just what we need to move forward.
For me, last year has influenced a lot about how I want to live this year. And no, these are not resolutions. They are the patterns I’ like to identify in the way I lived when I get to look back in December. Allow me to share a few:
I want love to be my entire philosophy, motive or whatever else you may call it. If I love God and love my neighbor as myself (Matthew 22:37-40), then every other thing will follow. Only Christ-like love will equip me to be fruitful (Galatians 5:22).
I want to trust God in and with EVERY thing (Proverbs 3:5&6). Whether or not things are going the way I want them to, He is in control. Period. He isn’t a sadist who revels in my pain. Instead, He has good plans for me (Jeremiah 29:11)
I want my speech to be positive and this has to first begin with my view of things (Matthew 12:34c). I recognize that I have talked myself (and others) out of wonderful possibilities because of negative talk and that has to end (Proverbs 18:21). I need to speak life.
I want to be kind to myself before (and so that) I can be kind to others. I need to allow myself to stumble or fail so I can be able to do my best. If my absolute best is not sufficient, then I can confidently say that I tried and failed rather than that I never tried at all. After all, my heart will only plan its ways but only The Lord will bring things to pass (Proverbs 16:9)
Finally, I want to surround myself with people. I want to give people the opportunity to be a part of my life – the good and the bad. I want to be a part of other people’s lives too because I have experienced just how important it is to be in community (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).
The Past Informs the Future
That is what looking back to move forward looks like to me.
I hope that in sharing my story someone has been impacted in one way or another. If you are that someone or if would want to encourage someone else, comment below and let us in on your story.
HOW WAS YOUR 2018? WHAT DID YOU LEARN? WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2019? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS. 🙂