Explore. Dream. Discover.

G:

Well, I’m six days into a new year and a lot of monumental things have taken place:

1)      I finally have a smart phone

2)      I bought an electric blanket since I never turn my heat on

3)      I am now the proud owner of a blender (SMOOTHIESSSSSSSSSS)

My quality of life has exponentially changed.

You know I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions. While it would be a good idea to set a goal of ingesting more leafy greenery into my digestive system, I always become more reflective in a new year than proactive. I think about what was, what may be. But I never really set any fast and hard deadlines or goals for the new year.

I just like to see what happens.

The other day I was looking at the dashboard on my MacBook right next to the Chi Pet widget I forgot to water four years ago:

Screen shot 2014-01-06 at 10.27.02 AM

And I noticed a sticky note with a quote on it I’ve been neglecting to look at as much as my Chi Pet:

Screen shot 2014-01-06 at 10.27.11 AM

There was a reason I liked it four years ago and a reason it still resonates with me today. I don’t want to be idle in the safe harbor of comfort and familiarity. I’ve always wanted to set sail into the unknown and discover what’s waiting there for me. To discover what You have waiting there for me.

Following your will for me is setting sail into the unknown. And I know I’d be remiss if I didn’t step out in faith and let your winds catch my sails and take me where You want me.

I want to explore, dream, and discover your plans—your wonderful plans for me.

I want to make that my goal this year. To step out in faith, to free myself from the safe harbor. To take advantage of every opportunity that You present to me. To grow by becoming uncomfortable, stretched, challenged. It’s a lot scarier than green leafy vegetables, but a lot more rewarding.

It’s definitely no coincidence that right next to the quote by Mark Twain on my dashboard is this verse:

Screen shot 2014-01-06 at 10.31.10 AM

I’m excited to see what will happen this year because I know you are going to lead me when I’m looking to you to guide me. I can’t think of anything more exciting than that.

So lead on, Master Navigator. Put on a pirate hat, perhaps a parrot on your shoulder and let’s set sail.

My quality of life is going to exponentially change.

Your child,

m

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ON HAVING A HAPPY NEW YEAR

new year

photo: timescity.com

G:

I’m assuming your laugh is a hearty one—one that shakes the clouds, maybe even causes small earthquakes in California (just the ones that make your glass of water wobble, of course).

I’m sure you laughed when my good friend and I were sitting on the couch in my apartment this time last year. We were both 100% sure that 2013 was going to be a great year.

It wasn’t.

2013 was a year marked with heartache from broken relationships, loss of beloved family members, inopportune illness, and chronic stress.

Six months in, my friend and I agreed:

2013 sucked.

A year later we’re sitting on the same seats, on the same couch, having the same conversation about 2014. Except this time there’s hot chocolate. And I got new socks. I’m biting my lip as if to hold back any positive adjectives that want to jump out of my mouth to describe 2014. As if “happy” or “great” or “exciting” are death sentences before the year even begins. RIP 2014—you’ve flat lined before the clock even had a chance to strike midnight on New Year’s Eve.

I’m just about to take out any adjectives whatsoever and remark, “well it will be a year!” when I realize that maybe, just maybe, 2013 wasn’t so bad after all. My friend expresses the thoughts I’m feeling and suddenly clarity occurs like someone finally found the light switch after fumbling around a dark room.

“And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). This past year was full of trials and stress and utter exhaustion, but we learned that through it all You work for the good. Because we love You. Because we turned to You every day for the past twelve months.

In the heartache of broken relationships, there came healing. In the loss of loved ones, there came comfort. In illness, there came health. In chronic stress, there came rest.

Because just like my mom, you have a way of pointing out “character building experiences” (Romans 5:3-5). In these experiences I became closer to You. In these experiences You refined me.

Because what if having a “happy” new year doesn’t mean “happy” in the conventional sense—in the sense of rainbows and butterflies and new jobs with higher salaries and romantic engagements with huge diamond rings that weigh down your left hand and luxurious trips around the world on a cruise line that doesn’t lose power or have someone murdered on it—what if having a “happy” new year meant letting You work your magic of creating good from all things. After all, you are The Heavenly Alchemist, making something of worth out of something unworthy.

As long as I turn to You in all things, You’ll make good from all things. ALL things.

You make happy new years from seemingly sucky new years.

Looking back, maybe you weren’t laughing at all when my friend and I were chatting on my couch. Maybe you were agreeing with us.

I’m 100% sure that 2014 is going to be great year, too.

Your child,

m