This year has been a wild ride. I am so thankful to say that it has been a journey of overwhelming happiness, for the most part. Not that it was all marshmallows and roses, though—there have been a lot of opportunities to change and grow as a person in there, too, and for those I am the most thankful.
Every year I sit down and look back over my life, utilizing that poetic “hindsight is 20/20” concept to hopefully shed a little light on why I am here. Every year I realize that I still don’t see the entire picture, as much as I long for a completely balanced perspective on myself, but I am given little pieces of truth that continue to help me figure out the puzzle. Yes, I know this will be a life-long process. No, my goal is not to know everything about everything, or even about myself. Instead, all I’m really hoping to do is use the truth I have been given by God to create more space to fill with more love, because if I have nothing else at the end of a season, I know I will have that, and it’s enough.
My main focus over 2013 was maintaining a healthy perspective in every situation in life. Obviously I knew this was not going to be without challenges, but wow, was it harder than I expected. I had a few pivotal moments where I was nursing a great stress tornado, only to suddenly be called back by this little poke from within that reminded me, “Hey, you brought this on yourself. Change your perspective, change your situation.” Within minutes, I’d sit there dumbfounded at how trivial my issue was when I looked at it from the right perspective.
Ultimately perspective stems from a foundation of faith. Everyone believes in something, whether they admit it or not. Belief builds our culture and shapes us not only as a whole, but as individuals.
“What is the eternal power in a human being? It is faith. What is the expectancy of faith? Victory—or as Scripture teaches, that all things work together for the good of those who love God. Faith is an expectancy of the future that expects victory. Faith conquers the future. The believer, therefore, is finished with the future before he begins the present, and this victory can only make him stronger for the present work.” - Soren Kierkegaard
And so I learned and I grew, a lot more than I realized after I looked back over this year, which continues to amaze me, and I had this perfect, neat little essay written up about all the nuggets of truth I’ve acquired through this journey towards discovering perspective. But the year isn’t over yet, and in the last three days I have completely rewritten a month’s worth of work into this much more realistic, not as eloquently presented, account of my journey, because I didn’t actually get the plot twist on this story until today: The healthiest perspective can be found by being present.
That’s right. There isn’t any magical “will this matter in two months” formula for peace of mind and a reduced-stress existence. In order to get past the hard stuff, you need to actually go through it, and not try to escape it or pull out some meditation that will make it easier or less uncomfortable. You just need to put your feet on the ground where you are, take a deep breath and move forward. Face all those fears and pains and triggers, and make yourself get inside them and figure out why they are the way they are, whatever that means for you. Only then will you finally have the perspective Kierkegaard was talking about above: The victory is already won. There’s nothing left to worry about. And then you will realize what you can do to keep going, because you’ll know without a doubt that life will keep moving forward, and you need to stay in the present, where it’s happening and where you have the choice of how to react to your environment. You need to do the present work to gain the perspective you need for your future.
Realizing how much I have adapted to unconsciously applying this philosophy has shown me the extent to which I’ve changed as a person in the last year. It’s changed dynamics in my priorities and relationships for the better. It’s certainly changed the way I move through my life; I approach opportunities with less fear and more ambition than I used to. I’m learning what to let matter and what to let go of. I am learning how much there is in life to absolutely love, and how to make room for more of that day-to-day.
With that being said, I am content with how my story is going so far. I’m so thankful to the people in my world who have walked with me through some crazy times in my life this year. God has given me so many opportunities to be challenged, open up, and share love, and that’s always an good thing.
Thanks for taking time to read what’s been on my mind and heart as we go into the next year. I hope you continue growing in your walk through life, whether you are lengthening the same path or starting a new adventure. Feel free to share what you’ve learned over 2013 in my ask! I’d love to hear it!
(February 2013-October 2013 progress. Sometimes you don’t realize how much you’ve grown until you look with perspective!)
True poetry is born of scrutiny,
Scrutiny, the son of meditation,
Meditation, the son of lore,
Lore, the son of inquiry,
Inquiry, the son of investigation,
Investigation, the son of knowledge,
Knowledge, the son of understanding,
Understanding, the son of wisdom,
Wisdom, the son of surrender to the Divine Will…
…Thus it is with the poet himself: his art is powerful, protecting, elevating, and his judgement straight and strong
— Stephen R. Lawhead
What’s your favorite way to unwind after a long day?