Goodbye and good riddance, 2016. I’m ready to kick you to the curb. For good.
I know I can write a lengthy post about why the events of the world made 2016 a terrible year, but, today I share why for me personally, I’m glad 2016 is behind us.
This has been the year of unmet expectations and frustration. God is still on the throne, and I have so much to be grateful for. But, this has been my least favorite year in a long time. When we experience unmet expectations, we become sad, frustrated or downright angry. I’ve experienced all the above in 2016.
Below I list a few of my unmet expectations/frustrations from 2016 (and bear with me – there’s a point to my venting):
- It’s been my least favorite year on staff at Watermark. This was year 10 for me, and it’s been the most frustrating one. Long story short, about 18 months ago I moved out of a role that I loved to try out some new leadership/management opportunities. We learned this was not the best spot for me, so I moved back to my old team, but I’m still working to find my sweet spot in ministry again. Along the way I’ve discovered I need to find ways to be more involved in the lives of leaders and couples. In addition, I was moved off of a leadership team role this past year. I don’t disagree with the decision, but it contributes to the work frustrations.
- My weight and eating issues have continued big time in 2016. My weight is as high as it’s ever been and I’m unhealthy in every way. I had my annual physical a few weeks ago and I’m disappointed in my health. The one positive is that my vision is 20/15. Other than that, it’s been a frustrating year, and it’s my fault. I hate the ways I’ve neglected my health and wellness in 2016.
- I’ve experienced some significant speaking anxiety this year. I always get a little bit nervous when I speak in public, but this year has been terrible. I froze a few times while doing announcements on a Sunday morning. And, I even got anxious while teaching in our premarried class. I’ve detested this struggle, and it’s been embarrassing for me the whole year.
- I’ve walked alongside some close friends whose marriages are in trouble. It makes me sick watching them struggle and I wonder what more I could’ve done to help them. Instead, I’m watching them potentially head towards divorce. The hardest part of ministry for me is watching friends make destructive decisions. 2016 has been marked by hurting and broken marriages.
But, When I’m Weak, Then I Am Strong.
Yet, in the midst of these unmet expectations, I’ve learned this year, and I venture to say it might have been worth the frustration, that God’s power is perfected in my weakness. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
When I am weak then I am strong. Not because of my own power and strength but because of God’s power working in and through me.
Maybe this year more than any other year I’ve learned that He desires intimacy with me more than He desires worldly success for Scott. If struggling with eating and weight draws me to rock bottom so that I depend more on Him, then so be it. If speaking anxiety keeps me dependent and humble but draws me closer to God, then praise his holy name. Or, if I begin to question what my gifts and strengths are, but I find myself clinging closer to Jesus, then blessed be the name of the Lord.
Do I wish I learned these lessons in different ways? Yes. Do I wish my eating and anxiety issues would go away and be gone? Heck yes. But, as I reflect back upon 2016, I’m reminded how good God is, all the time. I’m reminded that my weaknesses keep me dependent upon the Lord.
How about for you? What’s 2016 been like? What lessons have you learned? Have you also seen God’s power perfected in the midst of your weaknesses?
Here’s to hoping 2017 brings more great lessons for you and me. My preference is for them to come in less embarrassing and painful ways, but I’m grateful for the fact that His love for me is never dependent on my performance or behavior. I pray in 2017 you and I will both realize more of the full extent of His love.