Saturday, December 31, 2011

Good-bye, 2011. Hello, 2012.

At this very moment, bloggers all over the world are busy crafting wise and interesting blog entries to tie up and toss out 2011, welcoming in 2012 with all its mysterious and unknown glory.

Who am I, to buck the trend?

I have to admit, this time of year doesn't call me to look forward much. I don't do resolutions. The last time I did, I resolved to be more authentic, less of a people pleaser, and to write with courage and honesty, expressing the thoughts and feelings that I really had, as opposed to what I thought I was supposed to have. For the most part, I've been able to keep that resolution. I must have. I've gotten in enough trouble for it. Turns out, the real me isn't eveyone's cup of tea. Oh well.

What I do do at this time of year is look back. To be honest, 2011 was rough. Frikken miserable at times. Awesomely wonderful at other times. Just like life.

I cannot say that I have no regrets. I always feel an irrepressible urge to roll my eyes at the whole, "No regrets" thing. Seriously? I've made mistakes. I have sinned. I have hurt others. I'm not supposed to regret that? Of course I have regrets. Confession of our wrongs is the first step towards repentance, which leads down the glorious path of forgiveness when I bring my messes to Jesus. The fact that Jesus forgives my sins makes it possible to own them, to see the consequences, and to regret them. Then, to let them go. And if I can, make amends. If I can't, I can still leave that with God.

One thing I never regret are relationships. Even ones that go horribly wrong. I have made the choice in my life to never regret loving someone. Really loving someone. I don't mean wanting someone in my life because they make me feel good, and freaking out on them when real life hits and they prove to be as human as I am, and they are not serving their purpose of making me feel good anymore. That's not love. People are not tools designed to make us feel good. If that's what you want, get a dog.

I mean seeing people the way they truly are, and allowing them to see me the way I really am, and choosing to love anyway, even if they reject me because who I am is not what they wanted me to be. I never regret loving others, even when it hurts, because I believe that the hurt of not loving is worse than the hurt of loving and being rejected. Besides, because my Jesus loved me when I was rejecting Him, and I want to be just like Him when I grow up, with His help, I choose love.

In 2011, I learned to set healthy boundaries, to say no and mean it, and to accept the awfulness that some people carry around with them without letting that awfulness ruin my life. I got better at being hated without hating. I also saw that the ones who spur others on to hate and bitterness are not usually terribly supportive when the hatred and bitterness begin to bear ugly fruit. Sad.

I am wildly grateful for those in my life who have called me to a higher place of love and grace. I am grateful for God's forgiveness, and His love for me, which I still don't understand but am thrilled to live in daily. I am grateful to be free, especially from the heaviness of criticism and anger. I am grateful for my home, for the peaceful refuge that it is. There is freedom here, for everyone, to learn and grow with acceptance and love. No one is dominated, no one is diminished. It is safe. When I look at my home and those in it, all the lies and accusations that I have been living with over the past few years lie, filthy and broken, on my doorstep. They don't belong in here.

So, maybe I do have a few resolutions for 2012. I resolve to keep loving, in Jesus' power, even when it makes no sense. I resolve to care more about what Jesus thinks of me, and less about what people think of me. I resolve to let Jesus make me braver, stronger, more compassionate, more patient, more loving, more like Him. I resolve to reject lies, either from my own heart or from the hearts of others. There is a reason why God hates lies. Lies strangle the life out of God's people, bringing confusion and weakening us until we are useless for Him. Mostly, I resolve to follow Jesus wherever He goes in my life, even if it looks messy, even if others don't understand or approve, even if it hurts, even if I am scared and lonely and tired and even if the road that He is taking is the road I have always wanted to be on, and it all seems too good to be true.

Oh, I probably should tease my cat less. And exercise more.

Nah...just kidding.

Happy New Year, friends! Thank you for sticking with me, for reading my ramblings and for keeping me in your prayers and thoughts. I am grateful, grateful, grateful for my people. You rock. Like, seriously.
My Zimbio