Have you heard the rancorous outcry that 2016 was a terrible year? 2016 certainly saw a plethora of change: Brexit marked the beginning of the disintegration of the EU, Syrian refugees were both welcomed and denied, the Summer Olympics shed light on Brazil’s good side and dark side, Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize in Literature, and the US elected Donald Trump as President. This world we call home changed significantly this year, and change can be hard to accept.
I empathize with the lamentations of those who suffered in 2016, but I must also acknowledge that change can be a source of good. For instance, unemployment reached the lowest rate since the recession in 2016, the giant panda was classified as no longer endangered, and Leonardo DiCaprio finally won an Oscar!
Personally, I have experienced the fruits of change this year. Fifty years from now, when I reflect on my life, I think I will always remember 2016 as my most transformative year. Why, you ask. Well, 2016 marked the year that I relinquished the reigns of my life completely over to God.
People are like blocks of marble: they possess immense potential for beauty, but they require the masterful hand of a sculptor for that beauty to be revealed. What does the sculptor do? He chips away at the marble. The chipping is not easy. It hurts. God chipped away at my pride in order to reveal my beauty. It was not until I had completely submitted to God that my marble visage was able to glean and dimple in the sunlight.
When one humbles oneself and allows God to change one’s life, one may find that one suddenly begins dancing through life instead of merely existing.
I used to be terrified of change. Now I am thankful for it. God uses change to bring about good. If you would like an example of God’s faithfulness, let my life be a testimony. I went from dedicating my entire life to the pursuit of a career that did not fulfill me to allowing myself to have a work-life balance for the first time in years, pursuing a vocation that stimulates my mind and allows me to help people in need, and allowing myself the freedom to fall in love with the most wonderful man I have ever known.
I even get to marry him! May the “YES!” I exclaimed on the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral go down in history as the wisest decision I have ever made.
As 2016 progressed, I often ruminated on the following two thoughts as a kind of roadmap for how I wanted to live my life.
First, the people most worth impressing are your five-year old self and your eighty-five year old self.
And second, I desire to live my life such that when I stand before God after I die, I can say, “God, I used everything you gave me. I have nothing left.”
Cheers to 2016!
Thank you for reading my musings this year. I shall continue writing this blog as an attempt to stay in touch with you, especially due to the fact that as of August 2017, I shall be an ocean away (I am moving to join Will in London).
2017 beckons, so I shall leave you with one last thought. It is the first Bible verse I memorized when I became a Christian at age 16. “Trust in the Lord your God and lean not upon thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6