All over the globe people will gather today on New Years Eve in celebration of one year ending, and another beginning. Most of us will stay up entirely too late wearing party harts, chowing on good food with friends and loved ones, and watching that famous ball of glitter fall from it's post high in the sky, striking it's final destination at the bottom of a long traditional countdown where we're met with a nice little smooch by someone we love. All this- in a big effort to signify the start of a New Year.
This particular holiday can stir up quite the plethora of emotions and feelings for us all. There's something emotional about saying goodbye to a part of our past, while simultaneously welcoming all the prospects of our new future. I'd say generally we all fall into 1 of 3 categories regarding the New Year.
The first category: Those who will gather in excitement, in praise, and in good spirits to reminisce all that they experienced in the year that soon will lie behind them. For some, it was a year of "mountain top" views of life. A year filled with success, goals met, abundant new joy's, deepened relationships, memories made through travel, precious new additions to your family, and exciting new opportunities that brought about a tremendous season of growth. They will embrace all the potential of the new year that awaits for them with optimism and warmth. There are even these crazy people (yup, I'm raising my hand here because I am not embarrassed to admit that I am one of them!) who partake in challenges that orbit around embracing the new year. A challenge where you pray/meditate/focus on picking one word to encompass a theme for their goals and dreams for the year to come! It's called #theonewordchallenge and I encourage you to google it! (I'll save that post for another day!)
The second category: The flip side. There will be many gathering to celebrate saying 'good riddens' to 2018 with much less excitement than those we just previously mentioned. Instead they say goodbye to a year of anger, sadness, open wounds, and pain. A year of more valley's, than mountain tops. A year that for some, held unmeasurable amounts of pain. A year where some experienced the loss of a loved one that changed their life in ways that words can't even begin to touch or describe. A year that you experinced unexpected tragedy and challenging circumstances. From your health, an unplanned job loss or change, a diagnosis that tilted this world on it's axis, the burn out of being a care giver, moving from a place you called home to somewhere new, un-firmilar, and lonely. A year that left you feeling overwhelmed by a lie that you didn't accomplish anything important or anything you set out to do exactly a year ago at this time. A dangerous lie that festers and feeds the feelings of not measuring up, of comparison, and lastly, of guilt.
The third category: Lastly, you're a combination of category 1 and category 2. You experienced highs and low's, joy and sorrow, success and failure's, and many up's and down's through out the last 365. This is where most of us fall. This is where most of us can relate. The majority of us this year, experienced both the beauty of life and also it's harsh realities that leave scars on our hearts. A group of people who are eager to let go and hold onto memories and lessons learned in this past year, while also being a group of people who are anticipating doing the same in 2019.
Here's my challenge to you: No matter what amount of joy or sorrow (OR BOTH) you leave behind in 2018...I challenge you to take a moment to hit the pause button and acknowledge that it changed you. It stretched you. It cultivated growth, and the person you are today.
Take a moment to be thankful that God, NEVER left your side. Not for a moment. That the amount of His love was ABUNDANT whether you ached in the valley this year, or celebrated on the mountain top's. Take a moment to recognize the invaluable truth that no matter what does or doesn't happen in 2019, your identity is found in Christ now an forever. You're identity does not change because this year is the year you finally hurdle over goals you set out to accomplish on New Years Eve. Your identity also does not change if this time next year you find yourself not quite making it to the finish line of your big dreams. Setting goals is a great practice to have throughout life. I'm not knocking that. It pushes us to go further than we think we're capable of going. It inspires us to be a better version of the human being we are right now in this very moment. It motivates us to take up courage and find strength to go after dreams that God's strategically placed in our hearts. No, I'm not knocking goal setting for a even a second. I'm a huge advocate for growing and learning. In fact, if anything, I encourage everyone to set goals! To be the person who inspires to be a lifetime learner. My prayer is that you wouldn't fall into the false narrative, that a successful year equates to putting check marks by every "to do" you set out to accomplish at the start of the year. We are bombarded enough in this life with the false idea of what true joy and success looks like, that I pray in 2019 you will dig into who God says you are and let the gifts He has for us lead you on to finding true happiness and true success.
Happy New Year my friends, may you be blessed in the year to come, and take away rich lessons and growth from whatever may come next.