Things I Forget

Sometime around last week, I started to feel this tiny little worry because my word for 2015 hasn’t found me yet.

Delight, my 2014 word found me perhaps a little around this time last year, but it felt a little obvious given everything that happened in 2013. Courage, my 2013 word found me sometime in December, I think, but I think I knew it before I finally acknowledged that word (because I was scared of it). And now, we’re about 5 weeks away from 2015, and I was coming up with nothing and I was worried.

But then there was no room for worry because the last few weeks at work were very tough ones – as in really tough – and a part of me wonders why these things had to happen on the year when I said I’d be joyful, and not on the year when I said I’d be courageous. I am supposed to be done with having to live courage all over again — it’s the year of joy, joy, joy. Why am I wrestling with fear again?

I know, I know – joy is a kind of courage, it’s not just happiness, and courage is a choice, blah, blah, blah. I know that. Except knowing and living it out are two different things and there was a huge part of me in the past few weeks that keep on resisting to what I was doing, and what I should do, and there’s this loud part of me that just wants to quit. Because it’s hard. Because it’s not fun. Because I don’t think I can do this. Because I don’t want this. Because I didn’t ask for this.

I’m trying to recall where all the guts I had from last year went. I called myself brave last year because I did things I never thought I could do. Did they disappear when I decided to take delight this year? I hope not. Or maybe I wasn’t really brave then, but you know, faking it the entire time? I hope not, too.

I remember something I learned when I started working for my current company, about how we get called to certain levels of faith. When we reach a certain point, we get to start from zero again not because we’re back to square one, but because we’re at a new level, and we need to level up with the faith points. Or joy points. Or courage points. Those kinds of things. While I was reflecting and listening to the community events I attended this weekend, I realized that maybe I am at a new level of courage, and that is why I am scared out of my wits.

Over the weekend, though, I learned that courage isn’t really what drives away fear. Which makes sense, because I always thought brave people are people full of fear who still decide to go for it, anyway. What I completely forgot – because I let my fears ruled me in the last two, three weeks – is this: love drives away fear.

How could I forget that? Perfect love. Okay, sure, my love isn’t perfect, but I am loved by a perfect God…so why am I so afraid? I know I am capable of love…so again, why am I so afraid?

It’s so simple, but I know it’s going to be hard, too, especially since I tend to fall away and worry and lately I seem to be so overwhelmed with so many things. I forget so easily, and I get distracted by so many things, and before we know it, I am back to the worrying and wanting to get out…and then today I was reminded of two things (among others):

Surrender control. Seek His will.

You see, it’s really not about what I want. It has never been that. It’s always been what God wants, what His will is. I know that I will find His will in my deepest desires, but I will only know what those deep desires if I seek His will. And part of seeking His will is surrendering all of my control. The more I try to control, the more frustrated I will get, and the more fearful I will become.

I forget so easily.

I’ve been restless in the past days because everything felt hard, so hard, and all I wanted to do was quit. But earlier today, as the people in the Catchfire 2014 conference sang Refiner’s Fire, and I leaned onto my dad, I started to cry because I realized what I forgot: my heart’s one desire is to be holy, set apart for you my Master, ready to do Your will.

I forget so easily.

It’s Monday again tomorrow, and I am already bracing myself for another tough week. God never promised that it will be easy, but He promised that He will never ever leave us. He will never ever leave me. Hasn’t He been faithful all my life – why would He be less faithful now?

Here’s to a victorious week ahead. :) Pray with me?

Oh my strength, I will sing Thy praises!
Thou o Lord are a shield to me!
Oh my King, though the battle rages,
I look with victory on my enemies.
Praise you Lord, mighty King of Zion! ♥

The Story of Brave Things that Roar

Can I say it? I know we still have a day before 2013 is officially over, but can I please, please say it?

MAN, WHAT A YEAR 2013 HAS BEEN.

I mean, seriously.

I know that when I chose my 2013 word even before the year rolled around that it wasn’t going to be easy. In fact, I almost decided to choose another word, but then I realized that’s cheating, especially after the word has owned me even before I decided to own it. I knew that I would go through a lot, and I knew that choosing to be courageous means facing fear head on. I wish I could say I was completely prepared, but I guess one is never really that prepared, no matter what.

So wow, 2013. You surely were something.

I could go on and on about courage and bravery, but to keep me from rambling, here are four important things I learned about courage in 2013. :)

1. “Happiness is a form of courage.”

This is a funny thing to think of, and the story behind this post about happiness is really me contemplating if I will buy myself the MacBook Air that my boss was selling me the day after I thought of replacing my 6-year-old MacBook. I know it’s such a shallow thing that I’d write about happiness in the context of buying a gadget, but that decision taught me a lot about how I thought of happiness in my life.

Because when you think about it, really, it takes courage to be happy. It takes courage to choose happiness because it’s easier to be sad, to feel down. It’s easier to dwell on the bad stuff than the good stuff, to see how things went wrong instead of choosing to see how right everything can be (even if you can’t really see it yet). I realized in 2013 that it really takes guts to choose to be happy, to be joyful, to delight. I have failed in this miserably, but I am holding onto this even more in the year to come. And like what my adopted little brother told me last Christmas: This sounds like a good plan.

Because joy and delight are not happy feelings: they are the choices to let love win. (Hilary Sherratt)

2. Courage and grace.

You know how sometimes, you think you’re such a nice person and all that…and then someone comes along, and it totally wrecks your perception of you being nice because they just grind your nerves to the very end? Or sometimes, someone seemed to do some things to spite you on purpose, so bad that you just want to lash out to them and make them feel your wrath because no one is supposed to say bad things about the people you love?

Yeah, I’ve had that several times this year. 2013 was the year that God decided I needed to learn more about grace. I ended 2012 with thoughts on graciousness, and that was just the beginning of it. 2013 saw me grappling for peace, getting really annoyed at people I don’t like, and being on a constant defense mode for the people I love because it felt like some people just won’t stop shooting at them. But the only way to learn to be gracious is when you’re given opportunities to be gracious. I wanted to be an unlimited dispenser of grace, and it was such a tall order that I kept on failing to do it. I learned that the more the important thing is to keep on trying. It takes courage to choose to do that, to give grace to people who don’t seem to deserve it, because in the end you’ll realize that you also need grace.

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