As Christmas and New Years get closer, I am thinking a lot about this past year. I enjoy reading all those Christmas letters that people send, which talk about the accomplishments and events in the lives of their families. I don't have a family--at least not one that doesn't live over 500 miles away--and somehow it seems lame to just write a Christmas letter about myself. I did that last year--via facebook, because I'm too lazy to actually send out letters on actual paper. This year, I'm a little too busy for a Christmas letter, but I do feel the need to write a little about 2011. Here seems like a good place.
There are two things that stand out in my mind as I think about 2011. I started running in February. Part of me still can't believe that I'm a runner now, and that I actually enjoy it, and part of me can't believe there was ever a time that I didn't identify myself as a runner. And really, by running, I mean jogging/waddling, but after living 30 years as a "I'll stick to power-walking, thank you" person, I'll take what I can get. It's interesting that a few months after I began running, a running/swimming/bicycling group was started by a man at my church. I don't think it's at all coincidence; the Lord prepared me at just the right time for this, and I think it's hilarious that I'm actually part of a sports ministry. I never would have thought that. It's definitely something the Lord has done in my life. I ran two 5Ks and a 10K in 2011, and I'm just itching to do a half marathon. I think that's probably going to happen in 2012. I kinda sorta really want a 13.1 sticker on the back of my car.
The second thing that really stands out to me about 2011 is the overwhelming grace and generosity shown to me by both God and other people. There were so many times that people gave me significant financial gifts to help me through somewhat major financial crises, to help me travel to visit my family, or just to help me in general. Beyond that, I have had people help me out by looking at my car when it was being a jerkface, or doing things for me when I was too busy to get them done, or just treating me to coffee when I was stressed out. I've been overwhelmed by the amount of generosity shown by others, and the grace of the Lord who loves me far more than I deserve.
I know the Lord has been working in my heart to actually ask for help when I need it. I've had to ask for financial help, but I've also been stretched to ask for help in other areas. I've had to ask people to look at my writing when it wasn't exactly comfortable for me to do so. I've asked someone to help me start a website. I'm in the process of asking for some help in recording some music. These seem like little things, but I'm a pretty independent person who doesn't like to bother people. But sometimes I need help, and if I'm going to get that help, I have to ask for it. Sometimes that's nothing more than an act of obedient faith. I'm working on that one--and fortunately God is patient!
I've become aware that while there is nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it, I do need to do some major work towards being able to fully support myself financially. I can't keep expecting others to get me out of trouble when it comes--and it always seems to come. I might have to look for new work, which will mean even more changes in a 2012 that is promising a lot of change. And I don't like change.
But, if you've read this blog recently, then you know that this season is all about hope for me. I'm feeling very hopeful about what God has in store for me. I know I can't do things on my own, and I'm still learning to ask for the help that I need--both from God and from other people. Even though I'm definitely a little anxious, perhaps even scared about the change that's definitely coming, I'm looking forward to 2012 and what's going to come.