Another year is over. We’re saying goodbye to 2016 and hello to 2017. And many people have adamantly expressed their desires for 2016 to end because they thought it was a terrible year. There were deaths of loved ones, role models, and mentors, unnecessary acts of violence, crimes, wars, and any other terrible thing you can imagine. But, there was also joy, hope, peace, and beauty. And I’ve had my fair share of all of these this year. But, 2016 was not really my year. And, 2017 won’t be either.
For me, 2016 was filled with so much. I celebrated 18 years of life. I took huge steps in order to grow my relationship with God. I discovered who I was, who I’m becoming, and who I think I someday may want to be. I found out who my real friends are and held on to them with all I had, while not being afraid to let others go. I graduated from high school. I went to Seattle for my last Bible Quizzing nationals ever as a Quizzer. I found my new favorite book and fell in love with its beauty. I went to Kenya on a life changing missions trip. I met some incredibly amazing new people. I started college, and survived my first semester with few emotional breakdowns.
I also witnessed pain and loss. I watched my friends lose people important to them. I watched my sister lose a classmate and friend. I watched strangers lose loved ones. I watched the world cry along with the people that dwell in it. I experienced pain and heartbreak of my own.
In 2016, I laughed, cried, and everything in between. I learned to play new games. I tried new foods. I expanded my knowledge of the things I love. I increased my understanding of the people I love. I memorized a new book of the Bible. I read new literature. I discovered more about myself. But, 2016 was definitely not my year.
At the beginning of the year, I was a hopeful, wishful, beautiful, independent, struggling, reflective, girl. And now, I’m still all those things. But life has also hit me hard with some truths. And so, I’ve been forced to be all those things, as well as real, strong, and resilient. Because 2016 was a rough year. I watched a 5 year long hope of mine come crashing down around me. I didn’t reach all the goals I had set for myself before I graduated, or turned 18, or left Quizzing. I didn’t follow many of the promises I had made to myself at this time last year. I slept longer than I should have, but also not as long as I needed to. I procrastinated more than I should have. And maybe it’s because I’m a slightly cynical, hopeful, dream filled realist. Or, maybe it’s because the ending to the year was not what I had imagined. Maybe it’s because I spent the better part of the last month in pain, finally thinking I’d gotten over it, just to discover the tears flowing again at the most inopportune and irrelevant times. Or maybe it’s because I started the year in love with myself and totally confident in who I am, and I’ve ended it fluctuating daily between hating myself and loving myself, and hating myself for hating myself, but never really knowing why I’m feeling either way. But, whatever the reasons are, I know 2016 wasn’t my year. And I guarantee 2017 won’t be either.
But, that’s not because 2017 will be terrible. And it wasn’t because 2016 was terrible. It’s just because they’re not really mine. My life, my time, and everything I am and do don’t belong to me. They belong to God. They’re His. And I’m going to live this year, and live my life, like I believe that. Truely believe that.
Because, this year, as in many years passed, I took parts of my life in my own hands. I made choices for myself and decided that because my life belonged to God, He would follow through with my plans. Instead, I need to let God make the choices and follow what He says because I belong to Him.
2017 will be filled with heartbreak. It started out with me almost crying at 1 am, so, yeah, it’s going to hurt. But, it’s also going to be filled with so much love and joy. Because 2016 ended with me in a room with those I love most, laughing until there were tears. It’ll be amazing. I’ll do thigs I’d never imagined were possible. I’ll discover new things about myself and others. I’ll spread love and joy. I’ll be a light. I’ll trust God through all of it. I’ll go where He tells me and do what He desires. Because 2017 is not going to be my year.
As my sister said, “I don’t really understand New Years’. I mean, it’s not like anything special happens, you just wake up and it’s tomorrow. It’s not any different of a day than any other day.” And she’s right: it’s not. But, it is a metaphorical restart. A sort of analogy of becoming a new person. And making 2017 your year is all the rage. But, it is really just tomorrow. It’s just another 365 days, that really could have started and ended at any time. January 1 isn’t some special date. It’s just tomorrow. Another day to act like this year isn’t your year. Because it’s God’s. He’s just waiting for you to recognize that and listen to His wonderful plan for your year, and for your life.