What Do You Remember From the Past Year?

Posted: December 31, 2011 in Christian Discipleship

Remembering things that happen in life is much harder than it sounds.  When pressed to dwell on this past year, the happenings that jump to the forefront of my mind are these: winning the fantasy baseball championship, riding in an un-air conditioned van (in August) all the way to Pittsburgh, playing NBA 2K11, watching 24 with my wife, and discovering that Golden Oreo’s are actually better than traditional Oreo’s.

Really, brain?  That’s what comes to mind?  And, brain, it seems that what you remember appears to be quite random and seemingly insignificant.

When pressed to think harder about this past year, I can scrape up some happenings of deeper value: My sister had a baby boy (who I call The Bubbas) and I’m now Uncle H, my family went on a memory-filled vacation to the Michigan dunes, and Julie and I ran our first lap (lap=year) in the race called marriage.

Why is it that remembering the important stuff in life gets tricky?  Maybe we should write down the stuff that happens each day, because it seems as if our most important happenings trickle down the drain while the seemingly random stuff remains.

What gets even trickier is when we try to remember what God taught us over the past year.  Being a seminary student, I always feel like I have to have a profound, biblically sound answer to whenever I’m asked, “What has God been teaching you?”  Something like, “He’s been teaching me surrender (a Christianese buzzword, by the way) — surrendering my dreams, my hopes, and my fears.”  I feel the need to say something like this — transcendent and also mysterious.

But if I’m really honest with the “What has God been teaching you” question, I usually have no idea what to say.  And this is a bad thing for a seminary student like me.  Shouldn’t my answer be crafted perfectly, rattled off routinely, and include at least one biblical reference?

Truthfully, my honest response to the “what has God been teaching you the past year” question is this: “Umm, that I can really be selfish, overly-critical, and nagging.  I place too many expectations on my wife.  And…despite the fact that my collegiate basketball career is over, I still find ways to yell at referees in church ball.  And let’s see…what else…oh yeah, I took long breaks from reading my Bible this past semester because I was getting exhausted from seminary.”

It appears I’m not a cookie-cutter Christian after all.  And that’s just the beginning of “what God has taught me this past year.”  The list could get uglier.

So anyways, what has God truly taught me this past year?  Umm grace?!  Anyone need some of that?

At the end of the year, it can almost be a burden when pressed to think of what God has taught.  Certainly there are avenues of growth we experience, and thank God those enriching times of growth do occur.  But we often feel like we should have pristine knowledge of what God has taught us in a year — something that prompts applause and admiration.  But Christian growth is much messier than that.  Sin gets revealed.  It gets ugly.  And we see our need for the redemption of Christ more and more.

The older I get, the more I realize how in need of God I am.  And this is because He teaches me things because I keep tripping up and doing things my own way.  My steps of growth are not without stumbles.  In reflecting on the past year, it is easy to want to concoct an immaculate set of knowledge that sounds so beautiful — stuff we assume Christians will love.  But if we’re honest with ourselves, each year features plenty of stumbles with growth meshed in between.  Thus, celebrate the growth meshed in between while praising God’s for His grace to cover the stumbles.  That’s my $0.02 as we enter a new year.

  1. jshaver30 says:

    Great end of the year blog. I really appreciate your honesty. I have come to realize (only through the grace of God), how much I really am in need of His grace. So many times we try to fake it and wear a mask, or pretend that we have it all together. Or we rely on our own righteousness to please God. But God wants us to humble ourselves and submit to His power, His grace and mercy. In Christ we are free to admit our sin, dirtyness and filth and rest in the the fact that Jesus has chosen us despite who we are. That is the freedom that we can rest in and move forward boldy proclaiming that gospel.

    • Right on, Jordan! It’s so easy to overlook our need for His grace in the day to day of life. We get busy and forget where our identity lies. Thanks for your thoughts. Hope you and the Shaver fam have a great New Year’s!

  2. Fran says:

    I read this post completely concerning the difference of most recent and previous technologies,
    it’s awesome article.

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