As 2013 Closes.

2013 is about to end, and I don’t know what to think of it. Frankly, I am still wrestling with what the last year has contained. I self-published my first novel, Stronghold, but it’s critical and financial’s results were questionable at best and poor at worst. Many will say that self-publishing in and of itself is an accomplishment, and I believe this to be true, but is it enough of an accomplishment to warrant the time and effort it requires? It’s a fair question I’ve had to ask myself.

2013 has been a year of Scripture Memorization. I have needed it to survive. Between the stressors of the job I began in July, the emotional roller coaster of releasing my book, and the day-to-day realities of my life situation, I have clung to the words of the Holy Bible more this year than any other. I discovered many useful passages that I can now recall for aid at a moment’s notice (and I have). If this has been a year of hunger for my soul, Scripture has been my bread.

I put forth a number of goals for 2013, and I am still assessing whether or not I was successful in completing them. I’ll look at them more deeply when I have some more fuel in my tank. As of now, I’m just thinking about the year in full, and it’s been a full year. I lived intentionally and worked with zeal, but to what end I am unsure. In so many ways I feel that 2013 has been a year upon a hard road headed toward something I cannot yet see but long to behold. I feel it’s been a year of taking steps but arriving nowhere.

In the end, I am left with one litmus test for living well, and it’s far more simple than my goal-making or supposed achievements. The test contains one question: was I more Christlike in 2013 than I was 2012, and how can I be more Christlike in 2014 than I was the last 12 months? This is the totality of my reflections. I want to answer positively. When I consider my struggles, my longings, and my actions, I want to say that I was closer to God and more reflective of Christ this year than any other before this one. But even that thought gives me pause: only the Lord knows the answer.

As the year wraps, I can tell you I’m utterly exhausted, and I do not know if I can do in this upcoming year what I did in the last one, which makes me feel like I’ll need to do more. I write this after particularly exhausting day at work, and I do not foresee those getting easier. I feel like 2014 will be year of trial, of the Lord’s cultivating my faith that much more–of his teaching me to hold just a little longer, to keep fighting for purity and pursuing righteousness. I don’t need more resolutions and self-imposed controls; those will make me more arrogant, more judgmental, and more focused on me. It’s time to move from those to something else. I need to look beyond my self; I need to look at others. I need to seek their good. I guess you could say that’s my New Year’s resolution, to live intentionally without restrictions and to see where love takes me. I have no idea how that will manifest itself, but I look forward to living life loving Christ and sharing that journey with you.

Thanks for reading today and throughout the year,