2014, it’s been a heck of a year. I’ve been sad, world-weary, down, melancholy, mournful, grieving, gloomy, dejected, downtrodden, heavy-hearted, forlorn, sorrowful, dispirited, discouraged, drained, ashamed, guilty, embarrassed, intimidated, penitent, regretful, humbled, jealous, envious, covetous, threatened, fearful, afraid, suspicious, startled, unnerved, anxious, nervous, angry, mad, offended, antagonized, bristling, sarcastic, aggravated, arrogant, indignant, inflamed, affronted, resentful, vicious, and spiteful.
During this same time, I’ve been happy, glad, content, optimistic, cheerful, satisfied, lively, joyful, delighted, rejuvenated, pleased, gratified, excited, gleeful, merry, playful, upbeat, peaceful, calm, amused, open, friendly, encouraged, inspired, jovial, elated, exhilarated, overjoyed, manic, giddy, euphoric, awe-filled, blissful, enthralled, jubilant, ecstatic, radiant, and last but not least…hopeful.
This year has contained more activities, destinations, friends, family, and connections than any year I can remember in my short twenty-two. It’s held so much that as I sit here reflecting back on the past 365 days, I’m pulling from within my soul to smack back my emotions and the tears. I’ve been blessed enough to have been carried, held, hugged, kissed, comforted, touched, liberated, encouraged, surprised, inspired, motivated, and most of all…LOVED by people in my life.
These connections are not worth money or gems. They have no bargaining value to hold over anyone. They are priceless. They are the greatest gift God has given me. These connections, nahhh, let me restart that. These RELATIONSHIPS are the most valuable gift I’ve been given.
What I wanted to say regarding this New Year approaching by the hour is something that has been put on my heart for months now. I had never been one to successfully follow through on resolutions. By resolution, I’m referring to the normal “be in the gym”, “no fast food”, “read more” type of resolution. Tried it, failed at it, and given up on hundreds of these “resolutions’. This last year, that has changed as life has continued to run at me like a bull with it’s head down…All I can say is I’m a pretty stinky Matador.
Let me explain the domino that started this. About a year and a half ago, I was on a plane flying home when I picked up the magazine in front of me. On the cover was a young, 20 something year old guy wearing a shirt that read “Because I Said I Would“. Intrigued, I began reading the article about Alex Sheen and his inspirational project. “A promise made, a promise kept.” . . . I can’t say that until praying, reflecting, and focusing on this little statement that I had ever put much stock in recognizing the value of keeping my word. Truthfully, that little statement, “Because I SAID I WOULD!” rings louder than it ever has before. It has become part of daily devotionals, integral part of routines, and just a major part of this life.
Today, I’d like to make a different type of resolution post. This one is public. If you happen to be connected to me via social media, day to day interaction, or just stumble across this post due to random circumstances, please know that I will need your help. I pray that my focus and dedication to these will not be lost as the future approaches, hits, and keeps on going, but I won’t be able to do this alone. Community is something we’ve lost in the digital age, and it’s a major part of why public accountability has been put on my heart. Welp, enough blabbering, here it goes…
I promise to:
Hold my relationships tight to my soul. To not forsake these precious threads that hold us together even when it seems tough or senseless to keep holding on.
Continually build, not destroy what blessings and opportunities that have been put into this journey.
Pray, hope, and trust in the One who breaths life into my body every morning, and who lays me down gently to sleep every night.
Treasure this life. Every breath is worth more than any dollar amount that could be placed into these torn hands.
Gladly help support those around me. No matter the cost or uncomfortable situations it may cause.
Trust in what goes unseen. (John 16:33) “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
Focus on not just on my physical well being, but my spiritual and mental strength above the physical.
Continue working towards becoming a son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin, friend, and stranger worthy of conversation, relationships, and loving reciprocity.
Give my time to causes and activities that matter. Truly matter. Young or old. Weak or strong.
Work on giving up my need for control of the physical world. My job, relationships, money, housing, etc. Giving up this feeling of control might be one of the toughest promises I have here, but it is needed in life right now.
Love, no matter the amount I may be receiving from earthly sources. As funny as it sounds, in the scope of things, it doesn’t matter if I am loved here. I can be secure in knowing I am loved far more by Him.
Dance as much as possible. It may look horrific to others, but I’ve found that my inner self comes out far more than in any other environment.
Hug, kiss, and hold tight to others as much as possible. (this probably could have fit into the “Love, no matter” promise but it didn’t feel right)
Live. Every second…of every minute…of every hour…of every day…of this next year. I don’t mean I’ll be gloriously leaping out of airplanes or pulling people out of car crashes every second. This is to pledge that even when watching movies, listening to music, making stupid jokes, and other things that may seem like time wasted, I will not just drift off the path of promises and blessing He has provided with feelings of regret.
In 365 days, my hope is to look back on this and have a conversation with someone about it. Hopefully they’ll ask the questions, “Why did you do that?”, “Why make those promises public?”, “Why go to such lengths to make it happen?” . . . I’m sure I’ll have a ridiculous answer at that moment, but for now, all I hope to answer with is
“Because I said I would.”
He said “Because I said I would” at the beginning of time, and He has not failed since. If that isn’t enough for me, I don’t know what is.
If you happened to read this small book, I’d like to thank you for reading and sticking with my crazy self. As mentioned up above, I’ll be needing help with this….TONS OF HELP! If you are already connected to me, never feel awkward checking in with me about anything. It’d be a privilege to connect, reconnect, or even reestablish contact and conversation with you!
I hope and pray that the next year brings incredible moments for all of you. Thank you again for sticking it out!
I’ll see you in 2015!
Blessings and LOVE!
- Josh W.