2015 has been the hardest year of my life thus far. This year I graduated College and changed my mind countless times about what I was doing after school. I lived in 3 different states and had many new experiences. This year was big for me, but not because I got to do some cool things. This year has been huge for me because, as I look back upon this year, I can hardly recognize myself. The difference between who I was, where I was, and the direction I was headed, to who I am, where I am, and where I am heading now, is hard for me to believe.
Where I was last December and January was a place of despair. I was burnt out and beat down. I was broken. Looking back at the songs I wrote and prayers I prayed, it’s hard to not feel a little overwhelmed. I had made up my mind to pursue a path that was birthed out of selfishness, and followed the leading of my pride. I was prepared to pay the price of walking that path. I was willing to trade what I knew God called me to do, in order to chase a dream I have always had. And because of this, I lost almost all of my desire to serve the Church and ultimately led to me trying desperately to ignore God. When you try to fight God, you always loose. I lost. I lost because in trading my pursuit of God’s will, for the pursuit of what I wanted, I lost my sense of purpose. This is where I was.
Going into summer, I was confused. I had to change my summer internship plans, and postpone an opportunity to move to Nashville. In all honesty, I was mad about this. I was mad because I thought I was having to waste my summer working for a Church in Miami Florida when all I wanted was to be somewhere else. I didn’t want to work for a church. I didn’t want to go to Miami. But I had to go to finish getting my degree. So I went and something happened to me there. I began to realize that it is better to obey God and trust His plans rather than to try and make my plans happen. I was challenged in my experience in Miami, to actually do what God called me to do. So I started to pray and seek out what I was actually called to do. The funny thing about a calling is that it doesn’t usually change. Mine didn’t, even though I fought it and made excuses to the point that I thought it wasn’t what I was supposed to do. I was convicted of this during the summer and out of that conviction I decided to obey.
Moving into fall, I had to make a very hard decision. I felt that God wanted me to be back in Dayton. I didn’t know why. I didn’t have a Job lined up and other than my band, I didn’t really have anything going for me. But, I knew I was supposed to be here. So after fulfilling some commitments I had made, I moved back. It was really challenging at first, because I didn’t have a Job, and still wasn’t completely sure why I was back. But, God provided and led me to take a Job at a Church. So, here I am. I’m doing the thing that a year ago was the last thing that I wanted to do. I’ve made some hard decisions but I know they were the right decisions.
It can be so frustrating trying to understand what God is doing, when He is doing it. It’s like trying to see the image of a completed puzzle without the box and only having a few pieces. But, when you look back and see the pieces that have been filled in, you start to understand that God is building something bigger than you and your pieces. This is something I am beginning to understand. Because of this, I am starting to be able to truly understand what it means to “Count it all to Joy”. I can now look back and see that my frustrations were ways in which God was demonstrating His faithfulness. I can now see how what I thought was aimless wandering, was God wonderfully leading my path. Even though I am still having to constantly fight my selfishness and pride and daily having to choose to submit my will to God’s will, I am confident that God is working the things in my life for good. Not good in the sense that life gets easier, or that I have more and better things. He is working things in my life for the bigger, beautiful good image He is putting together. Everything He leads me through is just another piece of the puzzle. I am confident in this and thankful for every struggle I have gone through. Without them, how could I recognize His goodness? Without the lows I’ve experienced, this year, how could I understand the sweetness in the highs? If it weren’t for pain, how could I appreciate Healing? If not for my rebellion, how could I ever find freedom in surrender? All of these lessons made this year the hardest year of my life, but they also made this the most rewarding year. I hope next year is just as rewarding.