Ah. Can you believe that 2013 is almost upon us? It’s so cliche, but I can’t believe 2012 is almost over, when it really feels like it just flew by. Of course there were months that seemed to last forever (I’m looking at you, August and November), but in general everything seemed…I dunno, different.
Wait, I think I always say that about my years.
So if I were to give a theme for 2012, what would it be? Well, my word of the year is love. I can’t say that I was completely loving this year because I know I wasn’t. But as I have been sharing with my friends in various Christmas dinners this year, I shared that 2012 is the year when I learned to love. Not just romantic love, but love in general. I’m far from an expert, of course, but 2012 was the year that I think God taught me so much about my heart and I am surprised that I even thought I knew myself before.
All in all, 2012 was pretty…good. It was, it was. If I look back at this year, I think I will always look back at this year with fondness, maybe just a little bit more than 2011.
And because we like numbers, and playing with them,1 here’s 12 things about my 2012:
- 2012 is the year of community. One of my goals for this year is to go back to my church community, and I think it was the only goal I actually reached. I am really glad that I found a new spiritual family, and that I have started attending households/small groups again! And I even have a household of my own! :) Other than my church community, I also found myself surrounded by more people who I have learned to really love. They’re people who would cry with you, celebrate with you and would pray for your heart. They’re people you have history with, and you wouldn’t mind building even more history with them too. If you were a part of one of these communities (you know who you are), I just want to you know: I love you. <3 I am so blessed by your presence in my life this year. :)
- And because my word was love…I pondered about romantic love a lot this year. Oh, no no, no status changes, but I think this is the year when I learned so much about it. I started the year with remembering that I deserved that much, and later on I wondered how it felt to be in a relationship and remembered that I was playing for keeps. I have learned, and I am learning not to treat the subject of my love life as taboo, but to embrace the desire and to talk about it in the open because I believe it is a God given desire. And there’s nothing wrong with that. There are many, many, many things I didn’t write about here, and it’s probably better that they remain private. But the ride is far from over, and I think there’s still so much room to grow up and learn.
- I entered the silence.Well, I tried to. I realized that I may be just a little scared of silence — of actual silence to other kinds of silence — but I also learned that there is beauty in silence, too. I am still working on keeping silent most times, be it actually shutting up or being silent about other things. Furthermore, I learned how I’m such an emotional-thrill junkie, and that I shouldn’t be. Let go of the thrills. It’s a work in progress.
- On a shallower note: I spent a lot on gadgets this year. And they’re not even different gadgets, but you know, one. I never talked about it here because it was too painful sometimes, so the short of it is: I went to Boracay with my best friend, overestimated our waterproof bag and accidentally soaked our iPhones in saltwater. Talk about ruining your vacation. I had to spend on getting it fixed, but it was faulty already so I sold it again. I admit that once you go iPhone, you may never want to go back, so I got another one from Smart. Lesson learned: never put your phone near water.
- Back to serious things. I think one of my biggest lessons is I learned this year is all about intentionality. Meaning and doing what you say, saying and doing what you mean. I still have an unpublished post about the subject, which I may post eventually after I have read it and I feel comfortable about it. In a nutshell, I learned that it requires a certain bravery to be intentional, and to be truly intentional you must have pure intentions. BUT, you can’t have pure intentions if you’re not intentional. Confused yet? I hope I can write about it soon.
- I learned that clarity is not necessarily comfortable. In fact, having clarity can be very uncomfortable. When things come out into the light, it’s hardly ever an easy thing to swallow or cover up again. I realized that the imperfections don’t necessarily glare when it’s out in the light, but it makes things…more beautiful, if I may be so cliche. Clarity, despite the discomfort, brings peace of mind, and it requires lots of courage to seek it out.
- I cried a lot this year. Oh don’t worry — it’s not always bad. Good tears, bad tears, relieved tears, cleansing tears. There were several times when I cried, but interestingly, I think none of those tears went to waste. I cried, and sometimes they were embarrassing (blubbering mess, complete with crying in the shower type of tears) and there were times when I cried tears of joy. Sometimes the tears of sadness are followed by tears of joy. But it’s okay. It’s okay to cry, because trust me: you won’t cry forever. :) “You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.” (Psalm 30:10)
- I unleashed my inner gimmick planner. When I was younger, I always thought that I was jinxed in planning things because every time I plan something, something always happens and it never pushes through. I don’t know how I suddenly became everyone’s go-to planner, but this year I focused on them more. So every time someone wants to do something, they run to me and ask me to coordinate with whoever is supposed to be involved. I think it’s my control freak tendencies enjoy the planning process. I don’t mind, although I also enjoy a trip where I do not have to organize anything at all. Here’s to more gimmicks and trips next year!
- I learned that one of my ways of showing love was giving gifts. I always thought my primary love language is quality time, but as it turns out it’s my way of receiving love, but my expressing is quite different. My friend pointed it out to me, and I realized he was right — I liked giving gifts to the people I care for. Or at least, spending time in making them. I guess in a way it’s also some kind of act of service, and it makes me feel good to give my loved ones something I really thought about. :)
- A trust without limits. There was a time when I wondered if I should switch words in the year because I felt like God was teaching me how to trust more than how to love. But I realize that loving also requires a lot of trust. Amazing how much He’s brought me to different levels of trusting him in the past year, and they were usually a struggle. If you can see my prayer journal, it’s filled with prayers for trust, the grace to trust, the courage to trust. Like entering the silence, this is a work in progress, and I’m trying really hard to hear that still, small voice that asks, “Do you trust Me?” every time I feel like panicking. I have to hold on to the fact that God always gives what is good, so I have to let go of all expectations, stop struggling and just surrender. Like what one of my favorite songs this year said, “Even the winter won’t last forever.” :)
- I’ve learned that my heart is stronger and braver than I thought it is. I’m a very guarded person despite my seemingly open personality. If it’s possible, I guard myself by being open. One of my favorite lessons this year is how I am learning not to guard my heart. My prayers have changed from guarding my heart so I could avoid pain, to praying for vulnerable heart so I can love fully and without fear. The idea of that scares me, really, because I’ve never worn my heart on my sleeve (and honestly, I never really liked it when people do that)…but I realize how my sense of self-preservation has stopped me from saying and doing the things that I need to say and do out of love. It’s a radical thought, and it seriously scares me, but deciding to do this may just be the bravest thing I have ever decided this year.
- And finally, in 2012, I learned about graciousness. I had a blog post ready for this but I didn’t post it because I was still feeling emotional about something, but let’s just say that this year, I was given so many opportunities to be the better person. I realize that there’s a difference between being simply nice to actually being gracious. It’s a struggle, because I really think I’m a mean person sometimes, and it’s always a conscious effort to choose to be gracious at all times. But again, I guess that’s what love is? It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. I think being gracious is just another term to call choosing to love over being right.
Well this turned out to be a bit longer than I thought. 2012 was wordier than I thought. :P I’m posting this one early because I have a different idea for my last post for 2012, and I just really hope I find time to write it. No, scratch that — I will find time.
2013 is upon us just a few days, and I don’t know about you, but I am excited. I feel like 2013 will be a good year for all of us and I can count on several things that I am already excited about for next year. I know it won’t be easy — and in fact, I believe it will take even more courage than 2012 needed — but I’m sure it’s going to be another good one because the Lord always gives what is good. :) Happy new year, everyone!
- Or, not really. I don’t like Math. [↩]