31st December 2018. I was in the car with my cousin. He asked, “Ore, what’s the plan for the new year?” That question aroused a cocktail of feelings – a fatal mix of anger, self-pity with a dash of fear. My cousin was genuinely concerned but I was sick of hearing, “What next?”
2018 had been a rough year. Most of my plans fell through, I wasn’t sure what to do anymore but what made it tougher were the questions, the expectations. I was weary, and ready to take off the weight of having the right answers so my response to the question was simple. I laid out my goals for 2019 in two words: “to live”. My cousin laughed but I said what I said.
15th December 2019. I was in church. The preacher asked, “how many people are content with how the year went. You hit your goals for the year, nothing left.” Few people raised their hands, I was one of them. The goal was to live, and I did just that!
A lot can happen in one year. Especially when you step out of the box of people’s expectations and half-truths. It frees you up to truly live. Of course, this comes with a lot of questions, confrontation and battles but here’s the thing, you would have lived.
I started this year working part-time at a startup, doing some volunteer work while also taking a course in dress-pattern drafting. To my family though, I wasn’t doing meaningful work unless it paid well so I might as well have been unemployed. In a way, they were not wrong. I still depended a lot on my parents for finances.
I cried a lot this year. From working a job that triggered anxiety, to my shabby finances, my fickle health, to a relationship that didn’t work out. I felt helpless so many times. I had so many panic attacks. I broke so many times. Yet this year, I experienced true friendship. (I think that my greatest gift in life, after eternal salvation, is community. In that regard, I have struck gold). This year, I also got a job that I wanted and found a church family I can call home. However, my greatest win in 2019 was living.
Living means embracing the paradox of existence. The paradox of being so human, yet so divine; being so needlessly selfish yet so selflessly loving; feeling pain so intensely and being so inexplicably joyful; feeling so anxious yet being so peaceful. This year, I embraced my paradox.
My goal for the coming year, to be carried forward into subsequent years, is to rest. In 2020, I’ll be operating strictly from a place of rest. Rest anchored in the knowledge that I am loved, eternally; that I can do no wrong in Abba’s eyes because when He looks at me, He sees His Son; that I am fully forgiven; that I’m perfectly cared for and led.
In rest, I’ll pick my battles, wisely. In rest, I extend to others the grace that I have received. In rest, I live out the greatness that I am.
If you dealt with so much anxiety in 2019, you are not alone. God is inviting us to take on more of His rest in 2020 and beyond. Sometimes, we can’t help it. We have faith but we find ourselves slipping into anxiety. In those moments, remind yourself of who you are in Him and hold on to this, He never leaves. He never will.