I love New Years. I love the feeling of a blank canvas, a year unspoilt, full of possibility and adventure. I often take the opportunity of a New Year to set goals, plan events and look forward, but rarely take the time to look back and learn.
This year I was challenged to do just that, and the results have helped me shape the goals and plans for the year ahead. I took an old pen and my favourite notepad, and wrote a summary of each month. I wrote about events, emotions, thoughts and ideas. Month by month my experience of 2015 were set out in plain sight. It wasn’t the easiest of exercises, but setting it all down helped make sense of some of the confusion and made it easier to identify the lessons learnt.
2015 certainly had many great moments and happy memories but the theme for the year a first glance seemed to be of dreams shattered, hope deferred and relationships broken. However it really was a lesson in the three things that are the anchor to everything else, faith, hope and love.
My faith has always been important to me. As a child I made the decision that I would live my life for God and time and time again He has proved Himself faithful. However during 2015 I questioned my faith like never before. I couldn’t understand how events unfolding around me could be reconciled with my knowledge of a loving God. However, I’m entering 2016 with a stronger assurance of my faith. I may still not have all the answers to all of my questions, but through the year I gained a new perspective on some of the things that I questioned.
I have a hope that better days are ahead. Life doesn’t have to stay where it is. Where there is mourning there will be joy. Where there is lack there will be provision. The situations we walk through are only temporary and are all able to change for the better.
Finally I have learnt, possibly above all else, that a life filled with love is the only life worth living. A life filled with authentic relationships where masks are lowered, and dreams are shared, is the most fulfilling way to live.
When we’re hurt it’s easy to want to shut the door on others and hide away. It can sometime take a lot of strength to open up again and allow others in. To put their needs first and to take time to invest in them. However, as God is love, it’s the most effective way we can demonstrate Him to others. It’s the most simple way we can be more like Him.
So my goals for 2016 suddenly become easy to identify; to strengthen my faith in God so that those last unresolved questions disappear, to look forward with a new hope of better days ahead instead of settling in the hurts and disappointments of the past, and to continue to welcome others into my world with true, authentic love.
I hope 2016 is a year filled with faith, hope and love for you too!