So it’s been a while since I posted, hasn’t it? (Sorry about that, life has been a bit crazy). A quick Annie roundup for all who’d like to know – I’ve started my job as a Young Women’s Worker (well, I started back in April) and am absolutely loving it. You know when you just feel like God has definitely placed you somewhere? That’s how it feels at work for me right now. I’m well into my Masters degree (studying of course Youth and Community Work) and, as the title suggests, I recently got my nose pierced –
(That’s my mum next to me. Isn’t she a beauty)
Anyway. I’m writing this on the train so it’s all just being typed as I think it but I feel like (or hope) that it has some meaning for you this evening on the Eve of Christmas Eve.
2016 has been an awful year with regards to current affairs (at least to me anyway) – Trump, Brexit, various wars and a lot of bloodshed, and probably the worst of all: not only will the Great British Bake Off he moving to Channel 4, but Toblerone has changed shape. WHAT.
For me personally, this year has been one of different challenges and a heck of a lot of change. If I’m really honest, it could be so easy for me to say that the turmoil of the world has been experienced tenfold just within myself and my whirlwind emotional experience (apologies to those who’ve been caught up in that, some sort of compensation is on the way…?). My antidepressant medication has gone up, and I’ve felt incredibly and deeply lonely this year. I’ve moved from one place and back to another, friends are now in different places rather than one or two, and I haven’t always felt the happy go lucky Annie that I’ve tried (and not necessarily succeeded) to be. Being on my own in any situation was a scary one because that did not at all equate to life in all its fullness – the life that Jesus just loved to talk about:
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly
John 10:10 (ESV)
Yet in the last few months, I think God has been starting a change in me and helping me to see that life in all its fullness is, as those words would suggest, actually about Jesus and not about other people at all. So, looking back, I can see that I’ve made some fairly spontaneous decisions that have been decisions I made on my own with little regard for other people. I bought a guinea pig, and I got my nose pierced.
These were decisions that were made in the stillness and in the quietness. They don’t sound like very much, but they really were a big deal. Getting my nose pierced meant facing different opinions about how I looked and not always positive ones. It meant having to trust that what Jesus says about me is enough and that having something so obvious on my face, while people might not always agree on it, Jesus still says I’m beautiful and Jesus says I’m still enough. It’s not a big deal really on the surface, but this has meant I’ve had to face (literally) some criticism about a decision I made, which I haven’t always taken well.
Yet in this stillness, I’ve really felt like Jesus has spoken to me clearly about my place and my worth. Spending time on my own is actually okay – it doesn’t mean I’m any less loved or wanted if I don’t have anyone to hang out with. In my singleness, it doesn’t mean I’m not beautiful or worthy or rubbish. If anything, it’s the opposite – I’m being forced to be enough on my own in the face of some interesting opinions about that (and I’m not just talking about the nose piercing this time).
In short, what I’m trying to say in a rambly sort of way, in the face of some difficult stuff I’ve had to carry on. From work to moving house to seeing people move on right down to getting my nose pierced (obviously some of these are self inflicted but you know what I mean, hopefully). I’ve had to keep going. In no way am I in the same situation, but Jesus gives me the hope and the strength to carry on – when he carried His cross, he saw it through to the end:
So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them
John 19:16-18 (ESV)
What I love about Jesus here is that He was crucified with two others. He was there with the others when they were dying and suffering too. It gives me hope that when I have had to be brave this year, Jesus was there next to me being brace with me – and to be honest, being brave for me. I couldn’t have done any of it without Him (so thanks for that JC).
So for 2017. I’m not planning on getting any more piercings ever (my nose one flipping hurt), but I am definitely planning on being brave. I’m going to embrace being on my own, because it turns out that’s enough. I’m going to be brave in the face of change (or at least try to be) and I’m going to pray that I can be just like the lady of Proverbs 31:
“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.”
Proverbs 31:25 (ESV)
I’m off the train now, so I think it’s time to get home and celebrate Christmas. What a good God we have.
Happy 2017 everybody x