Emptied

Also known as: Quarter-life crisis for the new year. Sort of.

The start of the year — ever since last year, anyway — always brings this…choking feeling. It comes soon after the novelty of the new year has worn off. It’s when the optimism fades and I wrestle again with the question: what the heck am I going to do with my year? With my life?

It’s the classic case of quarter-life crisis. I think, anyway. Last year, I remember feeling almost exactly the same thing, too. Except that last year had loads more to be excited about: Europe, to name one. This year, while I admit it to having infinite possibilities once again…I just have no idea what to do. I’ve been thisclose to panic mode the past few days — it could have been because I was sick, or I was stressed, but there’s a part of me that just wouldn’t sit still. I feel like I had to do something, but I don’t know what to do. I want something to happen, but I don’t know what. And worst of all, because I don’t know anything, I’m frozen with fear where I am and I just want to hide under my covers and not get out until I figure everything out. I felt like I was ready to break down anytime.

I know, I know. I said I’m going to initiate. To take the first step. But what if you don’t know what that first step is?

But a little realization earlier. In an attempt to get moving and looking for something to look forward to (and I did promise I would start going again), I attended my first SFC chapter assembly after almost five years. It was fun, even if I left early. Since it was the first chapter assembly of the year, the sharing was about the state of our heart for 2011 and at the start of 2012. Hearing the things the others said was inspiring, not only because I miss sharing sessions like that, but because it reminded me of something that’s been a fact of my life for a while now. Something that I seem to forget sometimes most of the time.

You see, I think sometimes, God answers my prayers even if I don’t expect him to answer it. Which really makes sense since He’s God. But let me explain. You know those carelessly whispered prayers, ones you don’t consider as prayers but God hears, anyway? Anyway, every New Year, I make it  a point to pray at the stroke of midnight, to open the year with a prayer. I did the same thing this year, taking advantage of my solitude (sort of. It’s hardly silent then because of all the firecrackers outside), writing a two-page prayer on my journal while playing All Things New by Steven Curtis Chapman, my favorite New Year song.

Now if you haven’t heard the song, I suggest you go do it now. It’s a song about yes, how God makes all things new. And who doesn’t want new things for the new year, right? I know I want that.

But how can I have room for new things if I cling so much to the old things?

I don’t know if this is right…but I guess, this feeling of emptiness, of panic, of not knowing what to do, is a bit of housekeeping. Maybe, maybe, God is emptying / has emptied me / trying to empty me out so He can make all things new. So He can make me new.

2011 was a good year, and maybe a part of me is still wishing that it’s still 2011, and that I still have all that goodness with me. But I have to remind myself that God is good, and God will give what is good. How could I forget one of my favorite verses in 2011? Just because the year changed, it doesn’t mean that God has changed too.

This is the part where I take a deep breath, and tell myself to calm down. To be still, because He is God. And to be excited because I know that in my heart of hearts, I believe that God has big surprises in store for 2012. I just have to take it one day at a time.

Last. I read this post last weekend, written by one of my favorite authors, Sara Zarr1. I thought I’d post some parts of it here too, so I can go back to this easily to remind myself. And maybe, if you’re like me, you need reminding of this too. Advent has long been over, but the message is still relevant.

Take comfort.
Everything is going to be okay; it already is.
God’s power is immense. Make way for that.

Joy to the world, the pressure is off.

This God, who has measured off the heavens with his fingers and held the oceans in his hands, has given us these messy and confusing lives. And also likens these messy, confusing lives to beautiful flowers. He came into the mess in a messy, confusing way, and left a confusing mess behind, and that was all exactly as he planned it.

Believing that, I can live my messy, confusing, fleeting life in total freedom. I can look back at this last year and let it be the imperfect mess that it was. I can look into next year and have no clue about what will happen next, and not try to make myself into God by writing up a thousand-item to-do list for 2012.

Because God is God, and he is with me, who is only me.

Allow me to end this post with how people in my community end their sharing (which I totally forgot about and was so happy to hear again earlier): and with this, may God be praised. :)

  1. Can I just say that I’m positively thrilled to know she writes stuff like these :D []

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