Time For Thankfulness: Joining The Dots
New Year is a time to look back and reflect. For some, this may be with joy, and for others, it could be painful; but if we follow Jesus we can always look back and see his plans unfold. Looking back on my year, I can now see that God has joined the dots, showing me that there is value in difficult times and that there is always joy in knowing him.
2016 has definitely been a year of mixed emotions for me; there have been many joys but also some struggles. My biggest struggle has been experiencing anxiety for the first time. For me this meant avoiding people, irrationally worrying about everything and feeling like half of my personality had disappeared. As someone who generally loves life and everything about it, I really struggled with this. I was angry, confused and frustrated by everything, and particularly God, as I spent months praying and crying out to him without feeling any result or improvement.
Lesson One: God is in control despite how we feel
During this time I held onto Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you. You need only to be still”.
At the time I did not feel as though God was fighting for me, but looking back I can say that he was always there holding me up when I didn’t have the strength. He placed people around me to help me and gave me energy when I didn’t have any of my own.
God carried me through those months even though I didn’t feel it.
As I look forward to 2017 I know that I am not completely healed but also know that I can depend on a God who will never let me fall. Sometimes God doesn’t take away the problem but shows you that he is more powerful than it.
Lesson Two: God will always use our experiences
While dealing with this has not been a pleasant experience for me personally, I can see how God has used and is using this in my life. I work as a teacher and honestly can say that experiencing a small mental health problem has given me a much better understanding of what so many young people are going through. I am learning that my anxiety has actually been a blessing, as I feel so much more aware of people’s feeling and situations than I did before.
God will always use what you go through to help other people or to give you a passion for something new. Nothing is ever wasted with God.
I’m not sure what this year has held for you. As you reflect, you may be able to see how the dots connect, or you may feel frustrated and unaware as to why God has allowed certain things to happen to you. But as you look forward, I encourage you to hold onto the promise in Exodus 14:14:
God is always fighting for you.
Our feelings are temporary and unstable, but God is faithful and constant. He will always be there because he promised that he would. Sooner or later, you will see how the dots join up.
Look forward to 2017 despite your circumstances in the knowledge that our God is bigger and more powerful than anything we are going through or might go through in the coming year. We worship a God who does not only join up the dots in your life but who has created your whole life. I can assure you that your life is in safe hands as you step into the unknown this year.
Having grown up in Ballymena, Jenny has just graduated after spending 3 years studying History and Theology at Grey College, Durham University. Jenny spent a year in Cambridge studying for a PGCE and now teaches at a school in London and goes to Holy Trinity Clapham.