It’s the end of December again — and I think I’ve finally come into a new rhythm of seeing New Year’s as the start of something new. That may sound redundant, but a few years out of school has changed January 1st into a new year instead of just part of Christmas vacation.
So, hello 2015.
But before we get going in the New Year, can we talk about 2014?
I decided in December of last year that 2014 was going to be my year to be brave — to remember and write down one brave thing I did each month. I remember skyping with a friend around Christmastime and telling her my new year’s resolution. I remember just around that time writing this post, thinking about fear in the Advent story, recognizing it in the men and women who came before Jesus and who were part of his entrance into the world. I wanted to conquer fear in 2014, I didn’t want fear to get in the way of the more important things in my life — whatever God was calling me towards or asking me to do.
A year has passed. I’m sitting in my grandparents’ living room, under the Christmas lights, wearing my favorite yoga pants, and watching my bright red finger-nails type across the key board. The scene was probably the same at this time of year last year — but I know that a year later, a lot has changed.
Fear and bravery — that changes you. Or, maybe what I really wanted a year later was to be changed…but it is a process (a word I am coming to terms with).
It’s that word, process, that sticks with me. Doing brave things over the course of a year doesn’t make you a conqueror of fear. It just brings you further along in this journey of becoming, a process I’ve been feeling the weight of this year.
What were the brave things in 2014?, you may ask. I’ll share some in this space, and some are kept in my journals or in conversations with friends. I traveled to Cambodia in July, I moved into an apartment downtown, I survived a tumultuous car-buying experience. Fear was a part of each experience — the nerves about a long plane flight and being in a foreign country, sitting in the car-buying office freaking out about putting money towards an item you know close to nothing about (yet rely on every day).
Fear isn’t gone a year later. It is still present — it sits in the room as I worry about people’s perceptions of me, it reminds me of its presence when I think about grad school and careers, when I open the bills and curse at responsibilities I am afraid I’ll miss.
A year later in my life and I’m a little stronger, braver, less intimidated by my own fears, less flustered by the worries that sit in the back of the room. I’m more at peace with being in process, more accepting of my own imperfections, more quick to release fear to Jesus, confident that he can carry it better than me. I’m thankful for that — so, very, very thankful for the ability to see that change in myself, own it, proclaim it in words. And I give credit where credit is due: God’s work in my life.
I still have a long ways to go, so many lessons to learn, but that’s what a new year is for, right? And I’m hoping that at the end of 2015, I’ll be further along in this process of becoming — that I’ll be braver, stronger, closer to the God of peace. Here’s to you, 2015.