2018 is here, y’all. It’s day two and you’re probably already tired of seeing New Year’s posts, but GUYS! Today was such a mindblowingly crappy day that I’d have to be mad to think that the New Year will be just the fresh start I needed. Is anyone with me on that? Anyone??
But here’s the thing: I guess I’m mad. Because it has been the crappiest day of the year today, but here I am at the end of it and I’m still hanging on to the same hope that lit up in my heart after midnight on New Year’s Day. The same feeling that hey, maybe life DOES change and something DOES mend the scars and it WILL get better.
And in my mind I’m still holding on to all the little plans and hopes and dreams for 2018 that I had before this day of feeling like garbage. Because what I’ve come to realize today is that as soon as you forget that life is riddled with pain is when you’re setting yourself up for failure…
I’ll come back to that…
2017 was such a weird year for me. I went through the oddest dip in my mental health that I’ve ever experienced — so! Bad stuff! But also!! Good stuff too!!
Because I realized my little self-destructive tendencies and was able to work on addressing them, getting help, and establishing some support for myself. 2017 was a year of some serious breakdowns, but also a year of establishing foundations for growth. For learning to manage my mental illnesses in a healthier way. And for maybe stepping away from the crutches I thought I needed and for stepping towards a better view of myself and others.
And hey, that’s not so bad!! And I’m going to keep getting help even though that sounds like a scary and difficult and uncertain thing.
It’s just that it felt like after 2017, I would only go upwards. Maybe I had some kind of hope that 2018 would snap into place and I’d be free of all my little fears and insecurities. Somehow I’d be automatically sure of everything and I’d wipe away the worst year ever and move on and become something brilliant.
And I was livid. I was so livid that on the very day of new starts (towards the end of day one and most of day two, I guess I should say) I’d be suffering one of my worst headspaces I’ve been in for a very long time.
I’m kind of laughing about it now, because I’m in a comfier headspace and feeling better, but man, was I upset! But the conclusion I’ve come to by the end of this day makes me realize that maybe I didn’t have such a justification for anger after all.
…I’m coming back to the life-is-pain thing with two things to keep in mind.
- Peter chickened out and he sank like a stone
“Lord, if it’s You,” Peter answered Him, “command me to come to You on the water”
“Come!” He said.
And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid. And beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
(Matthew 14: 28-30 — emphasis added by me, of course)
What stuck out to me as I read this was how Peter asked. He asked to come out on the water. It’s so easy to ask. It’s so much harder to do.
I signed up for this whole Jesus-thing a good five, nearly six, years ago. I knew it would be hard pretty quickly. It was so worth it, but it was still so hard. The truth is, as soon as you ask Jesus to make you walk on the water, He’s going to follow through with your request. And you’re going to have to face those waves. Yes, Jesus can and will calm storms, but sometimes he doesn’t just yet because it is better for us to learn the strength we can find when we lean on Him and face the strength of the wind.
2. Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something
I came across an Ann Voskamp post just yesterday and I’m going to quote it here because ah, it was lovely. Do you know Ann Voskamp? You should. You should check her out. She’s kind of amazing.
“Life is Pain — and you get to choose: either the Pain of Discipline or the Pain of Disappointment.”
Because when we settle into the New Year — the very fresh start we needed — it isn’t long before we realize that new doesn’t always mean different and we must face the same stormy seas that we were never quite equipped to deal with in the first place. Yeah… I realized that so quickly this year. So, so quickly. And I guess that’s a good thing, hey.
But we shouldn’t be afraid. We shouldn’t see the strength of the wind and become afraid, no. We’re facing raging storms, but guess who is right there ahead of us, holding out His hand? Yeah, you know where I’m going with this one. Jesus. Jesus is out there waiting for you.
Life is pain, highness, but it isn’t all pain. We are right to look at the New Year with starry eyes and hearts full of new beginnings. But when life begins to sting again, we must become the fiercest Jesus-fueled creatures anyone has ever laid eyes on. We must grit our teeth, grin and bear it. We must hold on to all the truest truths. We must hold on to that hope that fuels us, the hope that keeps us alive. We must not fear the strength of the wind.
Friends, we’re going to keep on facing pain. It doesn’t end until the end. I guess that should have been obvious to me, but hey I keep getting reminded of these things and that’s okay with me.
Faith doesn’t mean covering your eyes and ignoring all the bad stuff, it means choosing to look to the hope in front of you. There’s strength in that kind of faith to move mountains.
Well, anyway, I hope that was at least somewhat encouraging. “Life is pain” is not exactly the best sounding message for the new year — though it is somehow just the one I needed to hear today.
Hey! We’re going to be great this year, huh? Let’s do it.
— Brookie Eliza