Well, here we are at the start of another year – unbelievable! As I’ve mentioned before, I tend to be deeply reflective regarding a New Year. At the end of every year, as I look back and evaluate, I can always see a theme. In the three years since I’ve been here, each one has been very distinct.
In the first year (2014), the Robert Story was the primary focus of my time. It was an incredibly intense, but profound journey. However, in 2015, I spent much of the year struggling to get the details of my house finished (even though I had already moved in the previous November). It was a season where I found myself frustrated and “leaning on my own understanding” in dealing with some of the obstacles and people I was working with. In addition, some other happenings in my life that year really served to show me how much I had allowed myself to become preoccupied, distracted and off track – “forsaking my first love.” But God, in His mercy, brought the gentle correction I needed to realize my loss of focus. By the end of the year, I was disappointed in myself in all the ways I felt I had failed. Which is why I was so thankful I was invited to join in the customary New Year’s ritual to symbolically burn up all the “fret and regret” I wanted to let go of.
This past year has been one marked with “staying the course.” It has been an exercise in quickly recognizing those times and tendencies when I would be tempted to take my focus off where it should be. Most of the year was rather routine and uneventful – except, of course, for the earthquake! But even in that, the Lord showed me that I was keeping my eyes and focus where they needed to be.
So this past year felt like it was a chance to “put into practice” the things I learned from the previous year. And for the most part, I feel like I can say I’ve stayed on track. God has always seemed to deal with me in calendar years, and I have no idea the highs and/or lows in store for this next year. But my prayer is that the ground I’ve gained (or at least maintained) will serve to prepare me to “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)