2014 with all of its joys and triumphs, trials and triumphs, is now over. 2015 brings with it the whiff of potential change, that things will hopefully be better than the last. If 2014 wasn’t particularly kind to you, 2015 is the time to shake it off. A new year is the time when we can reflect about the previous year, learn from our mistakes, figure out our strengths and become the better version of ourselves for 2015.
2015 will be my “Year of the Blog.” Every year, I have struggled with being a consistent blogger. The excuses keep on changing every year but the end result is still the same: lack of consistency in producing blog posts. This is the year where that will hopefully change. I’m currently doing Jon Acuff’s 10 Day Do Over Challenge and I am yet again reminded of how I want to make sure that I put blogging at the top of my list to achieve this year. I will make sure that I will be producing content once a week. What that content looks like will vary. It can be a traditional blog post or maybe share poetry that I’ve written or share my love for a certain song or artist. Whatever it is, I will be sharing content once a week. By sharing this with you, my dear reader, you can help me be accountable in pursuing this challenge of mine.
To my readers, thank you so much for taking the time to read my musings on life. Thanks for reaching out to me and telling me how much you have appreciated something I have written in the past or interacted with me and expanded my views on certain issues. I have had the awesome privilege of being a guest blogger in a number of other blog sites because of people having seen what I have written in my own personal blog site. Thanks for reading, for liking and for sharing my blog posts. I would love to have more guest bloggers to highlight this year as well so don’t be surprised if I ask =)
Let 2015 be the year of overcoming obstacles and reaching greater heights in our own personal lives. May it be the time we finally decide to get rid of toxic relationships and only stick to those that encourage us. May 2015 be the year we take the time and effort to become the better selves we have always imagined ourselves to be. May 2015 be the year that our dreams turn into our realities.
Wishing you and your loved ones a Prosperous New Year!
Around this time last year, I was busy preparing for my Ph.D. application. I had just finished my Greek exegesis course and was busily doing research and writing for my writing sample. I had spoken with my thesis supervisor and decided that it would be better to write a brand-new writing sample based on my proposed dissertation topic so I can have a good base of research before heading into the program. This year, all the planning and the preparations to achieve this goal reached its fruition. I am delighted to say that I have finished my first semester of Ph.D. studies! Woohoo!
There are so many times in life when our dreams and our goals can feel like they are so close, yet so far. We can almost grasp it, but it is also a breath away from making it ours. 2013 reminded me of the power of perseverance. It is important to keep going, to keep striving after that illusive dream. Because sometimes, that dream can turn into a reality. But after going through everything, that reality starts feeling like it’s a dream =)
I think it would be disingenuous to say that perseverance is the only factor in achieving one’s goal. More and more, I am convinced and convicted that all my dreams would never happen without the love and the support of the people around me. After all, no man is an island. We are surrounded by people who help us become the people we are, whether they be friends or foes. I am so thankful to have family and friends who cheer me on and are praying for my success. Without them, I would never be able to where I am today. It sounds so cliché but once you factor in all the financial, emotional, spiritual, psychological and intellectual support one needs to achieve anything, it becomes less of a cliché and more as an undeniable fact. We need our communities to survive and thrive. Without them, life is empty.
Yet, as much as I truly value my family and friends for all of the help they have given me, it but pales in comparison with the love and grace that my God gives me on a daily basis. If anything, I see my family and friends as a visible expression of God’s love towards me. It always shames me to no end at how unfaithful I am to Him, and how it is always flabbergasting to know that even when I am faithless, He is always ever faithful to me. Awhile ago, I was talking to a friend about success and how our understanding of success is primarily based on the goal we have set before us. For me, I have said that if I am still in love with God, and actually confounded more this year than the year before about how much love and grace He has given unto me, then that would be a success. If I still yearn to walk in His ways, and grow even stronger in my desire to follow after Him this year than the year before, then that would be a success.
2013 was a success. Let’s hope that 2014 brings even more of it.
With a new year upon us, I think it’s always important to take the time to reflect on the past year and think of how we can forge ahead in the new year to come. One of the things that I am ever so mindful of, and I really want to implement in 2013, is the power of the tongue. This is what I mean: I am a firm believer that the power of life and death is in the tongue. The words that we speak over our own lives and the words that we allow other people to speak in our own lives have tremendous impact on how we live our lives. I know that personally, I am very good at negative self-talk. Words like “you’re such a failure”, “you won’t make it” or “no one can ever love you for who you truly are because you’re worthless” are unfortunately, a major part of my vocabulary. Who needs enemies when you clearly are your own worst enemy! Studying the Sacred Scriptures has helped me realize how wrong this is. Hatred, either directed towards self or others, should never be tolerated nor condoned. In the same way that these negative self-talks have profoundly affected me and given me a warped sense of self, it is the positive affirmations from others that have helped restore my heart and my soul. I remember when my friend told me that she thought I was wise and how my actions do not go unnoticed. Or when another told me that he appreciated me for who I am. I still remember when I got an e-mail from my professor who I asked to be my Ph.D. thesis supervisor and was talking about doing future collaborative projects with me. I remember thinking “I can’t believe he wants to work with me!” I guess I’ve looked down on myself for so long that I was astonished that someone would want to work with me.
I admit that it’s hard to believe the positivity that other people say about me. However, I am working hard to receive the good words that they have spoken over my life. I am also working hard to make sure that I eliminate saying negativity over my own life. I find it way easier to encourage others than to encourage myself. That needs to change this year. I will be making a more concerted effort to celebrate my mini-victories as I work towards my end goal. I need to re-conceptualize what success means to me because it will definitely NOT look like what others view as success. I want to make sure that I am running my own race and not get so focused on running the race that others want me to run in. At the end of the day, I am accountable for the things I have done and not what others have done. I am responsible for myself and what I do with the time and talents God has given me. It does me no good to get sucked in to ideas of conformity to others’ expectations, as good as they may seem. The words we speak over our lives can be our destiny. Let’s make sure our destiny is one full of love, hope, and redemption.