Oh how a year flies by!
I’ve barely blogged in 2013, so I think this is going to be a massive, reflective, babbling mega-post. My apologies if you do actually read the whole thing!
- Arrive to work every day by 9:30… unto the Lord!
- Exercise 2x/week.
- Read more! Finish at least one Christian book/month.
- Attend more prayer/worship gatherings.
- Share the Gospel at least once. (Lame, I know… but it’s a start!)
- Make progress in Japanese Rosetta Stone.
And here is the lowdown:
- More or less accomplished. PTL! I’m improving!!
- Not sure if I met the 2x/week, but I logged 136 miles this year with my most being 39.5 in November. Not too shabby for a girl who barely worked out in 2012. As the intent was to work out more in 2013, I’d say accomplished.
- Bah! This was a fail haha. Books I did read/finish: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years (LOVE this book), Every Man’s Battle (helped broaden my perspective), A Praying Life. Books I started: Countdown for Couples, The Sacred Search, The Peacemaker.
- Quantity-wise, this was a fail, but it was partially due to schedule conflicts so I don’t feel too badly about this one. Also, EHOP every Tuesday in summer was an awesome experience! I think the Core really came together this year with a more defined vision and sense of unity/commitment despite setbacks.
- Sort of. God has afforded me many opportunities to be more bold in my faith at work, with friends, and even at church. This year He’s given me a greater heart for the one, especially the one(s) the church isn’t willing to go after. I’d say somewhat accomplished.
- Didn’t make Rosetta progress, but DID do a Japanese Pod trial! Yoroshiku onegai shimasu. (Basically the ONE thing I’ve retained from that trial haha.) Okay so this one’s probably a fail, but again something to aspire to in the future!
I wouldn’t say I’m a very goal-oriented person, so 3/6 is not bad! The first half of the year was marked by a lot of growth. The second half and especially last quarter have been difficult, but 2013 was still a step in a positive direction.
Overall, the year was marked by a lot of decision-making and introspection. As I had hoped at the start of the year, I also began to see myself living out of the overflow of growth/rest I had in 2011-2012. Point number 5 is the most significant for me. God has been working on my heart for His people and has given me more confidence in sharing about my faith. He’s been opening my eyes more to see the opportunities around me, almost all of which have been outside the confines of traditional church ministry. God has also helped me see that one of my gifts is mercy (thank you, DH!) and has encouraged me to move in that gifting.
Highlights of 2013 (sorry these are longs ones):
- Engaged. Starting with the obvious. Getting engaged entailed much more than just saying yes. This year was marked by a TON of thinking/praying/worrying/wondering about my relationship with K.
Reading The Sacred Search added a lot of clarity and conviction. Basically with the help of the book (and the Spirit!) I realized we have made finding a spouse into this mystical thing that actually blends in the American thinking of “the one.” Yes, sometimes God may explicitly reveal His will to us, but isn’t it a greater act of trust to take a step of faith? Essentially I felt like God gave me permission to CHOOSE to marry K based on the fact that I KNOW he loves God, I like where He’s going, and we have a lot of fun together… and based on my belief in the goodness of marriage and sovereignty of God.
I really do feel that I am CHOOSING to marry K. It is a choice, my choice, that I will make with the guidance of my values, aspirations, and the Holy Spirit.
What’s amazing (and a much longer story) is how God fulfilled one of the “signs” I had asked for regarding K, after, RIGHT AFTER!!, I said yes to marrying him. A story for another time, but a source of more peace and comfort, and a testament to how our God is great!
- Recruiting. It’s no secret I really struggled with work in 2012 and one of my greatest lessons that year was contentment (as well as love for difficult work people). I took a risk at the start of 2013, went with my gut, and asked to try out Recruiting. I’m proud of myself for taking initiative in my career growth and taking another step in the direction I’d like to go.
Recruiting has definitely made my life more enjoyable. It’s not a perfect fit and has brute forced me to be more articulate and *gasp* talk on the phone, but with a drastic shift in the amount of people interaction, I leave work filling more fulfilled.
We’ll see what 2014 has to hold.
- Introverted, slow, INFP me. I noted this year has entailed a lot of introspection, which is not that different from any other year, but I think this year’s introspection has helped me gain greater confidence in who I’m created to be. And it does help that the net has recently been lauding introverts left and right… yay me?
The biggest thing I’ve realized this year is that it is perfectly fine to not be a super dynamic, decisive, outgoing, suave, people person. It’s fine to be quiet. It’s fine to struggle with verbally articulating thoughts and opinions on the spot, and preferring a slow mulling process before giving an answer. It’s fine to be cautious and prudent (sometimes!). It’s fine to not always have a strong, decisive opinion. It’s fine to be uncool haha. It’s fine to be me!
And sure that probably means I’m not the type of person everyone’s vying to be best friends with, or the girl who’s the natural fit for the next promotion, but honestly I think I’m okay with that too.
So enough self-loathing! Enough being frustrated! More of embracing my strengths and seeing the good side of my weaknesses! More of focusing on the things God really wants to remove from me (a.k.a. sin)! Thank You, Jesus, for making me!!
- Running. I have always hated running, and I must admit I somewhat still do hate it, but I am super proud of myself for starting to run, really run!, this year. Thank you to the friends who have helped me along the way (EE, GO)!
Maybe it’s only me freaking out about the wedding, but I think running is much more than that: it’s practically the only hobby I’ve had this year! I see running as an outlet. It’s a place where it’s just me, my own two (flat) feet, and my resolve. Running really is all about the mind… an emptying of it (a very welcome relief for this over-thinker!!) and then a test of will and strength.
I’m not really the type of person that pushes myself to do hard things, but running has given me such a sense of accomplishment and has shown me that I can do difficult things!
And since I LOVE charts and metrics, I love that progress can be measured!! I remember my MISERABLE baseline 40 minute, 5K a couple months ago. Now that distance seems like a breeze!
Of course I am one to quickly invest in a hobby then let it backslide into oblivion. I’m going to need some Divine help to keep on running!
- Lifesong. Anyone who has talked to me knows I love my church. And anyone who has visited my church knows it isn’t well… it isn’t the most sexy? If a church can be sexy? Haha. Or I guess I’m trying to say from a worldly, human perspective, from the outside my church probably wouldn’t be first choice for someone like me?
When people search for churches, they really do often want “sexy.” Fancy programs. Lots of justice ministries doing extreme things in extreme places. Excellent, dynamic worship with ultra talented, musically gifted people. Strong ministries for their age group (in my case YA). John Pipers and Tim Kellers for speakers. Heavy thick theology, pointed exegesis, and a congregation that knows the intricacies of hermenuetics.
I don’t want to be offensive to Lifesong, but really guys (if any of you actually do read this), in all honesty we are definitely not that… and I am extremely grateful!!!!
What I love about Lifesong is that we are a congregation of struggling yet redeemed people who are simply indebted lovers of Jesus. Again, not many bells and whistles, just a church loved by God and looking to respond. I would say we are a Spirit filled church, but honestly that fullness doesn’t manifest in “cool” charismatic-y ways. I see a church with a quiet and gentle spirit, where the Spirit most manifests Himself in humble service and love.
So many people at our church are just plain selfless and they love without expectations. I SOOO appreciate that I have never been pressured to serve. And though I think there are times when people/me probably should be pressured a little, I am so thankful that Lifesong has offered me love even though I feel I haven’t always given much back.
I also love how God has broken down barriers between age groups. I love how the seniors pray continually for us young people and have even on occasion taken us to lunch (“No she’s not my granddaughter– she’s my friend!!”). I am SOOO grateful that the E family has taken in all us Young Adults and that we are basically a part of their family. They offer us time, support, and love, and demand nothing in return (save a weekend of teaching their kids basketball!). I LOVE the pastors and their wives. I love their gentle and thoughtful style of leadership. I love how they have a heart for worship and for missions and actually all the things I was looking for in a church, and have allowed me to see how those things can manifest in ways that others may not be used to seeing. I appreciate so much the thoughtful and loving style of leadership and how I can see a genuine love for God in our pastors.
One of the biggest changes of 2014 will be going on the Seeds of Life church plant with K. I must admit it is hard for me to be excited as I am already so homesick for my Lifesong family. I know great things are ahead, but it is most appropriate here to note how much Lifesong has meant to what was a hurt/jaded/lonely heart but became by God’s grace so much more, over the last 3 years.
And again, it has nothing to do with church bells and whistles (because hey, we don’t got much!), but everything to do with a church that loves God and being in the place God wanted me to be at the right time.
Conclusion (hurrah! finally!!!!):
So I know I’ve said way more than enough, but just ten more pages, okay? :)
I can’t close in any way other than thanking my good and generous God:
I know things have been rough between us lately, and I know it’s because I’ve been distant, but thank You so much for an amazing year.
It’s been a year of gaining confidence in myself– thank You for causing that growth… I know it’s because You love me and want me to be satisfied in who You created me to be.
I can see Your love for me in every person, every event, every good (and even not so good) thing that was a part of my life this year. I appreciate Your kindness toward me and how You are so long-suffering.
You are a good God and sorry for the times when I have doubted that or doubted You.
I want to love You more. Help me to do so through the blood of Your sweet Son, Jesus. In Your name, Amen!!!