I’m going to skip the part where I write an entire paragraph saying the inevitable truth that can be summed up in one sentence: This year has flown by!
2015 has been filled with many blessings, but these blessings have also been accompanied by some of the most challenging moments I have ever experienced. However, as a follower of Christ I know that God works ALL things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28) and I know that He has plans to prosper us and not to harm us (Jeremiah 29:11). So I am choosing to wave goodbye to 2015 with a heart full of gratitude for the God that I serve.
So here are a few of the life lessons I have learned in 2015:
1. God’s plans are ALWAYS better.
God has definitely shown me this year that no matter how hard I try to plan things, surprises will come, and some of these surprises may not be good ones. But His plans are always better.
2. Grace is vital.
Grace, the free and unmerited favor of God, plays such an important role in Salvation. Never take it for granted.
3. When you recognize distractions, don’t ignore them.
I have learned that it is very important to surrender distractions to Him the moment I identify my mind’s departure from His presence.
4. Nobody ever said forgiveness was easy, but God has called us to forgive.
If I didn’t think that forgiveness was hard before this year, I definitely do now. But as I have been learning to forgive this year, I have also gained a deeper appreciation for the many, MANY times God has forgiven me. Wow. Forgiveness is messy, but it is even more beautiful.
5. Enjoy every moment God has given you, and glorify Him with each moment.
This year, especially after entering my senior year of high school, God has been teaching me that time is a blessing from Him. Sometimes we might need to disconnect from social media and spend time with the people we love, and that’s more than okay. At other times we may need to find a quiet spot to read a book, and that’s great too. God has given us time to live joyfully all for His glory, whether surrounded by many or few, and we should not waste this opportunity.
And finally, at the end of each year I choose one word that sums up everything that God has taught me throughout the year. In 2013, God gave me the word FAITHFUL because He is faithful. In 2014, God gave me the word TRUST because I can always trust Him. In 2015, He has given me the word……..
Surrender my plans, my future, my fears, my distraction. Surrender my inability to gain righteousness apart from Jesus. Surrender everything into the hands of the faithful and trustworthy King of kings.
During these past few months, as I was deciding on a word, God continued to place surrender in my mind. And I have really spent some time considering what it means to surrender. To me, it goes beyond the understanding that we cannot do anything without Christ. Surrendering is acknowledging our inability to control everything and voluntarily choosing to do all things with Christ and for Christ.
To surrender is denying ourselves the inclination to choose the path that appears most attractive through our human eyes and allowing God to direct us toward the path where His eyes see our sanctification will result.
This year I have learned that there is no other place I would rather surrender my heart than in the hands of Jesus. So let us surrender everything into His hands as we enter into this new year. Let us set aside our selfishness and our desire to be in control and welcome whatever blessings and challenges that God is going to use in our lives in 2016.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” -Proverbs 3:5-6