Boy, am I glad to be back! Did ya miss me?
I can’t believe it’s the beginning of a new year! If you’re like me, a new year brings the exhilarating thrill of new opportunities, the fresh scent of second chances, and the beauty of unforeseen adventures hanging just over the horizon.
Okay, I admit it. I am one of those people. You know, one of those sentimental types that reflects over the past year and makes resolutions for the new one? Yep, that’s me.
So what have I been doing all this time while I’ve been gone? You got it-reflecting and resolving! I’ve had a lot of time to think about everything I accomplished (or did not accomplish) in 2011, as well as where I’d like to see myself going in 2012. I also did a lot of thinking concerning The Fear List, and I’d like to share some of those things with you today.
2011 was a very difficult year for me at first. I had resolved at the very start of the year to be as free from fear as possible, and to get over my fear of driving. But the longer I got into the year, the harder it became to see the end. I didn’t know anymore if I could get my license. Most of 2011 felt like a fight in more ways than one.
No matter what I tried, it didn’t feel like it was working. I kept driving, but didn’t see any progress. I kept writing, but didn’t see anyone responding. It felt like a whole lot of fight without much to show for it.
I also felt like 2011 was a whole lot about discovering my weaknesses. They were all I could see, and I didn’t remember anymore if I had any strengths.
But you know what? 2011 may have been a lot about discovering my weaknesses, but it was even more about discovering God’s grace. For, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10.)
Without the year I had, I still wouldn’t know what grace looked like. Now I know grace is the hand up when you’ve humiliated yourself and fallen; the dew of spring when winter has lasted too long; the brush of a thumb taking away your tears. It’s Jesus.
I’ve seen grace. But only because I had to face what was unseen first.
It felt like a fight. It felt like I’d never arrive. It felt like… losing. But through the grace of Jesus Christ, the fight ended in a win. It took me ten months to do it, but I got my license by the end of the year. I looked my fear in the face and watched it flee.
I can honestly say 2011 ended in triumph. And I know to whom all the honor and praise belongs. Through every challenge, my God was with me. And other than that, all I can think to say is: “Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things He does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!” (Psalm 103:2-5.)
Every year of my life I want to be growing. I want the ability to say, “2011 was a better year than 2010, and 2012 was a better year than 2011.” I didn’t think it would happen at first, but by the end of 2011 I was able to say, “2011 was better than 2010.” I want the same to be true for this year.
I’d also like to go in a new direction with The Fear List. To be honest, I haven’t liked where The Fear List has been headed for a while now. That’s one of the reasons I’ve been absent for such a long time-I’ve been thinking and praying about where this blog should go. One of the things I realized with both The Fear List and my writing in general is that I had turned it into something for me, and not what it was meant to be: a ministry.
So with all of my writing, I’m giving it back to God. It was He who gave it to me in the first place, and it belongs to Him. What does this look like practically? Practically, it looks like this:
I used to get an idea for an article then pray, “God, please help me write this well.”
Now it’ll be: “God, what do you want me to say? What message do you want me to deliver?”
I used to pick a publication and then say, “God, please help me get this published.”
Now it’ll be: “Who do you want this message to go to? Show me the publication you choose, Lord.”
I used to pick a publication based on how much I’d get paid.
Now it’ll be: “If you want me to write an article for free, I’ll do it. Wherever you want this message to go, I’ll place it there. Whoever you want me to tell, I’ll tell. Whether I’m paid or not, or whether or not it helps the resume. I’ll trust you have my best interests at heart. Me, I’ll just follow where you lead and trust you. One. Day. At a time.”
I used to write a post for The Fear List because experts say, “You should be writing at least three posts a week if you want people to stay.”
Now it’ll be: “What do you want me to write this week, God? Anything? If not, I’ll ask again next week.”
I’m done following others’ rules, and ready to risk it in faith. I’m ready to trust Him with my career, because He has promised to take me somewhere. And His “somewhere” is better than anywhere else on earth.
Mostly, I want The Fear List to be about you. You’re the reason I started this blog in the first place, so it’s about time we went back to basics. If you haven’t introduced yourself yet, please do! I’d love to get to know you and learn more about you.
If you haven’t seen it already, the new slogan for this blog is, “The place that is for the faint of heart.” It’s for those of us who are scared and scared to admit it; a community of a fallen, fearful people, seeking a good, courageous God. It’s not just for my list, but for anyone who’s ever carried a secret list of fears in their hearts. This is the place for the faint of heart to see their courage renewed.
To be honest, I don’t know all the changes that will be coming to The Fear List yet. I’m not entirely sure where God will be leading me this coming year. But I wouldn’t mind your help in figuring it out, and personally, I can’t wait!
I believe God is going to take us on an amazing journey for the new year. I believe we can see the impossible become possible, and mountains move simply because of a seed of faith.
With that said, I guess there’s only one question left to ask: Whaddaya say? You in?
I Hear Ya: Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions? Was 2011 better or worse for you than 2010? If worse, how would you like to make it better in 2012?
P.S. I’ve also decided to take a break on Phobias of the Week for a while. It was just getting too overwhelming trying to have a new one every week. Now I’ll probably have one phobia per month, and I may re-institute it at some point. But for right now at least, it’s time for a break.
Also, starting on Monday, January 30, I will only be posting on Mondays. I’ll look forward to seeing you then!