Lessons from 2012
It has been one heck of a year. For all the hype on that ridiculous Mayan “end” of the “world” “prophecy” (yes, those multiple quotes are intentional), I’ve been too busy struggling through my own personal Armageddon to care.
It might not be a good idea to actually post what I’ve been struggling with, but let’s just say there have been multiple things that really shook my geeky and rather shallow existence to its core.
I will not mince words: this year was quite unpleasant. I went through a couple of truly great struggles (as well as numerous minor ones) that tested my faith and at times made me literally sick to my stomach. They were all my fault too.
This awful feeling seemed so awkward to me, especially because I see so many of my brethren as always so happy. On the other hand, I see myself as so immature because I’m not “happy,” and therefore I feel envious of others who appear to be, and therefore more unhappy that I am immature because I’m not “happy,” and so on. This reminded me of something brilliant that C.S Lewis wrote on the subject of pride:
Whenever we find that our religious life is making us feel good–above all, that we are better than someone else–I think we may be sure that we are being acted on, not by God, but by the devil. The real test of being in the presence of God is, that you either forget about yourself altogether or see yourself as a small, dirty object. It is better to forget about yourself altogether. –Lewis, Mere Christianity, 1944
I’m an expert at seeing myself as a small, dirty object, but perhaps it might be better to skip on the imploding self-pity and not focus on myself altogether—which is one of the two things I’ve learned from the Lord this past year.
First: It’s not about me. I’ve realized through the pain of this year, that I’ve been so utterly selfish, and I really need to work on putting others above myself. Self-absorption, whether born of pride or self-loathing, is never a good thing and tends to have the same effect on other people as a black hole–it stretches and stretches them until the life gets sucked out of them and they cease hanging out around you. (Wait, what’s with the physics illustration?)
Second: He’s always with me. The Lord has never deserted me, despite all the darkness. In fact, He tends to seem closer IN the darkness. He is a God of infinite momentum—we can’t force Him to move (that’s not what prayer is for), but when He does move–and He does, without us knowing–nothing can stop Him. (Another physics illustration? I need to stop. I’m an English teacher, for crying out loud!) In the end, when the entire trial is drawn to a close, I realize that things make more sense and I understand Him more.
The synthesis of these two lessons is simple–This life is not about me; it’s about Him. This is one learning that no Christian should ignore. I discussed this in about 520 words; He explained it all in one act.
I wish you all a blessed new year.