The New Year always makes me feel nostalgic. It also makes me feel old, because how is it that I can remember things from two decades ago? The years really are moving fast.
For me, it always feels a little intimidating to move into a new year. There are twelve whole months in front of me where God willing, I have to do things. I have to live. I have to let life happen, even if that means letting death happen. I have to try, which means I might fail. With all those thoughts in mind, it’s all too tempting to just wish to stay right in the moment, snug in the warm familiarity of the holidays and never move.
There are other times in my life where I’ve had similar thoughts. Usually, it’s at milestones like graduations, the end of a school year, or at the end of a really good day that I didn’t want to end. It’s especially on those days, where I’m at my best as a person and in the spirit, that a small part of me thinks, “Hey God? Things are going really well today. If we stayed here, or if we ended things here, it’d be on a high note, right?”
Fear. It’s incredible how fear can make us inadvertently ask for death in our highest moments, not necessarily in the physical form, but in growth. We crave to stop where the going’s good and linger where things are familiar, where we feel we shone our brightest or did our best.
I said it earlier- I’ve thought about this more than once. But the only reason why I was able to feel nostalgic and wish I had a moment to stick around a little longer more than once is that eventually, I got up. I got up, moved out into the unknown and in time found myself at another high place.
Every time I’m at another high point in life, I realize two things: one, that there was another one coming and two, that I’m glad that I moved on from the last one. Fear of the unknown leashes us to a moment. We’ll explore beyond it only so far and keep coming back to it, expecting the past to satisfy us.
But we’re made for more than one point. We’re made for more than this life. When each of us reaches that point where we detach from this life it’ll be hard, no doubt. It’s in us to cling to memories, moments and the familiar flesh we’ve inhabited for so long. But standing in eternity, with Jesus in our sights? Standing in eternity after we’ve been changed and transformed? At that point, how much more will we be glad that we moved on?
Like every year, on New Year’s Eve, I looked back on my year and remembered the highs and lows of all the new experiences I’d been through. Looking back even further, I remembered those high points in my past. I will always look back on them fondly, but now? I would never go back. As precious as those memories are, I’ve found a higher height and a deeper sense of purpose. I am glad that I got to experience all the highlights of life that I would have missed if I had found a way to hover around those first few bright spots in my memory.
2020 has begun. This year, some of us will graduate. Others will find their first job or a new job. Some will grow their families. All of us will have the opportunity to grow our faith.
I hope the highlights of the past encourage you to enter this year with anticipation for all that God has for you. Let’s make new memories and not live vicariously through the people we were in our pasts. Let’s grow beyond the past. Let’s seek higher heights and deeper truths.
Extraordinary is here!