2018 has just a few hours left, as I am writing this post. I remember that as the ball dropped welcoming the year, I thought about how great 2018 was going to be. It was going to be our year. Our lives were perfect, and we had no plans to change anything about it. You’ve heard that expression though, right? “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans”. He sure busted a gut with my plans.
2018 could be described for me in one word. Change. As a person who tends to not like change, it has certainly been a learning experience for me. I am growing, and I am changing with it. It’s scary, and I don’t like the uncertain place that we are in right now, but I know it’s necessary. I can see the big picture.
That’s the first change that 2018 has brought for me. It used to be that when plans weren’t going the way I wanted, I would become angry and upset. I would dwell on the negative instead of looking at what doors it opened up. Hindsight is 20/20 and looking back I can see how God took my plans, changed them around, and gave me so much more than I could ever ask for. He knows the big picture too. Even more than I do.
About a month and a half ago, we experienced a huge disappointment. It has left us in a state of uncertainty. While at first I felt panic, I transitioned to calm and peace pretty quickly. I knew that there was a reason for God to turn our lives upside down. A few short weeks later our world got turned upside down again. And again. So much, so soon. It felt as if someone put us inside a snow globe and shook us all around. I kept looking for the reason, and at first it didn’t appear. Then, one day, it did. I might not like where we are at right now, but I know the purpose. Have you ever had one of those moments where you know that you are where you are meant to be? I had one of those today, in church. The pastor introduced us to the Gospel of Mark. The Gospel of Mark was written by Mark, who was not a disciple, but a follower. He was a helper to Paul. Truth be known, I didn’t know this. I had always assumed that he was a disciple. When giving us some background knowledge about Mark, our pastor said that Mark went from being a helper, to a failure, to a helper, to an inspired author.
So many times we set out to do a task, or we make a plan and we fail. Many of us get so caught up in our failures that we neglect to see the opportunity that it provides to us. We fail to see where it may take us. Perhaps if Mark had never failed, he would not have been able to become the inspired author that he was destined to be. His life was full of transitions and trials. Yet, even after his failures, he was able to do one of the greatest things. He will be immortalized forever, through his written word.
To conclude his sermon today, our pastor talked about the difference between religion and God. He referenced the book “Center Church” by Timothy Keller. According to the book, religion is that when circumstances go wrong, I become angry at God. The gospel is that when circumstances go wrong I struggle, but I know that God allows it for training. He will exercise his fatherly love within my trial, and he is doing it because he needs me to grow.
For many years, I was full of religion. This is one thing I want to change in the New Year. I want to live the gospel. I know that God needs me to grow and I want to allow him. I am scared but I want to make my mark on the world. I want to inspire others. I want to do the best that I can, and be joyful for everything in my life. Even the trials. For me, 2019 is going to be all about how I can make my mark. How will you make your mark?