2018 was a year of new for me. New marriage, new home, new building at work, new destinations, new problems, the list of news could go on and on. Yet even with the new, there was a lot of old and different as well. However, only when looking back on some of it have I really gotten any kind of clarity into what 2018 really was.
My year started off with some familiar ideas from years past. With certain goals and resolutions. Most of them didn’t really turn out this year. Not necessarily because I didn’t try, but in all reality life happened. That’s the thing about life. Sometimes you expect it to be what you want but in reality you end up with something completely different. For example, my honeymoon was unforgettable, but not quite in the ways I would have imagined it being.
Another example is the idea I had to remove a lot of the systems in my life. It’s not that systems are a bad thing, but rather I had removed a lot of myself or who I thought I consisted of. It turns out that this helped to clarify a lot of things for me, like what’s really important. I’m still trying to figure out a lot of who I am, especially now that I’m married. It’s not that the systems I had in place were bad, they were just designed for me and not us. Which is a big part of the balance that I’ve had to learn about. Something as “simple” as having dinner is much more complicated when there are two people involved. You have to balance what you ate, what they ate, what you might be eating later, when to eat, what you have, etc. Again fairly trivial but a clear example of learning a new form of balance.
Which is especially important to me considering this year I tried to live out and seek something bigger. This was guided in part by the 3 Words activity that I’ve done in the past and plan to continue to do in the year ahead. For 2018 my 3 words were: Serve, Worship & Story. Serve has come up in a variety of ways but the easiest and clearest example has been in the ways that I’ve learned to love my wife through serving her. Sometimes the things making the biggest difference are those things that don’t always appear to be that big at all.
Worship has been an interesting one for me that took a fairly dramatic turn in the middle of the year. My wife and I are reading the entire Bible together on a year long plan. When we came across Deuteronomy 12 which had a slightly different definition of worship than the one I had naturally assumed. It included the following couple of verses:
Your pattern of worship will change. Today all of you are doing as you please, 9 because you have not yet arrived at the place of rest, the land the Lord your God is giving you as your special possession. 10 But you will soon cross the Jordan River and live in the land the Lord your God is giving you. When he gives you rest from all your enemies and you’re living safely in the land, 11 you must bring everything I command you—your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, your sacred offerings, and your offerings to fulfill a vow—to the designated place of worship, the place the Lord your God chooses for his name to be honored.
MY definition of worship hadn’t included things like rest, or sacrifice, offering, or honor. I’ll admit this is one of the ones that I’m still struggling with the most, but it is also the one that might have changed me the most. The meaning and definition change impacted me in a way that made me start to rethink a lot of my world and the way in which I do a lot of things. You could say it woke me up and helped me get out of a habitual or ritual practice and become more present and intentional. It also created a very different longing that I’m still trying to figure out, but maybe that’s for 2019.
Story is both the best and worst of the words for me this year. I had quite a memorable 2018 which gave me lots of personal stories. However, I’ve felt in some ways more confused on who I am and what I’m called to do in the greater life story sense. As with worship a lot of my plans and definitions took on a slightly different meaning by the end. This is also where I had every intention to blog and write more this past year because I wanted to talk about what stories I was seeing, but for some reason that seemed to cause issues. It’s not that I’m ashamed or embarrassed by things that were going on. I just tend to like being in understanding of what was going on rather than still resolving what was happening. The thing about story though is that in a lot of situations, especially your own life story things are always being written and rewritten. While 2018 might be wrapping up, my story is really just closing one of its chapters. Not quite sure the title of this chapter but excited to live and share the next one.