Tuesday, December 30, 2014

I'm choosing happiness over suffering..

"I'm choosing happiness over suffering,
I know I am.
I'm making space for the unknown
to fill up my life with yet-to-come surprises."
                                                                                                           ~Elizabeth Gilbert
I, like many others, always look forward to the new year. It is like beginning a journey over a vast, empty ocean, having no idea who you may meet, or what will happen on the way.

To rephrase one of my favorite quotes: "Next year is always fresh, with no mistakes in it."

Of course, with no mistakes in it yet. I'm going to fail; everyone is going to fail. But when we fail, we have to learn to get back up, to learn from our mistakes, and to move forward into the future. Because if we remain focused on our mistakes, we will never have a chance to change. Instead, we become buried deeper and deeper in our doubt and guilt, and we will be nothing but miserable. Trust me, friends. I've been there before, and I never want to go back.

Why am I saying all of this? In reality, I'm preaching to myself. I have always been an optimist, and I have not always found it very difficult to forgive others. But when it comes to forgiving myself, it is one of my biggest struggles. When people talk about "next year," there is always mention of leaving every difficulty and fear from the past behind, and only looking forward. While it is a great inspirational phrase, it is much easier said than done. I still find myself looking back, and bringing back the feelings of regret and the mistakes of the past with me through the years.
God has taken the weight of every single sin and failure that you and I have ever made, yet we still insist on carrying them with us, and dwelling on them. In reality, it is our own pride that refuses to let go and move on.
I go back to this verse often when I am feeling the old guilt creeping up in my heart:

"When you were dead in your transgressions, and the uncircumcision of your flesh,
He made you alive together with Him. Having forgiven us 
all our transgressions,
having cancelled out the certificate of debt consisting of 
decrees against us, 
which was hostile to us; 
and He has taken it out of the way, having 
nailed it to the cross." 
~Colossians 2:13-14 
How comforting is that? He has forgiven us all our transgressions, cancelled the certificate of debt, and nailed it to the cross. 




How can we not accept such a gift? It still blows me away.

This year, I want to move on and let go. I have had enough of the "depths of despair", and wallowing in my selfishness and unbelief. Instead, I am committing to a year of thankfulness for the amazing life God has given me. I have made it my goal to list at least 1,000 gifts that I have always taken for granted. I am doing it because I am called to be thankful. And because this life really is beautiful. I don't ever want to take it for granted again.

While 2014 may have been the year the locusts ate, full of heartache, tears, and failure, I am ready to move forward into this new chapter, and I can't wait to see where God is going to take me.

"She could never go back and make some of the details pretty.
All she could do was move forward 
and make the whole 
beautiful. "

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