A Review of 2012 and a Preview of 2013

Today is December 30th.
Just one more day left in 2012. I pause and take a moment to review this year.

As I sit here and write this, thinking about 2012, I realize that this was truly a unique year. In many ways I lived this year in the shadow of the previous year. 2011 was by far the most challenging year of my life. I spent much of this year trying to escape the previous year.. Trying to make sense of all that I had learned and all that happened.
2012, much like 2011, was a year marked by absence. I spent the first 4 months in Augusta and was away from my family. This summer my Dad was gone for nearly two months, and my sister deployed in June.
To put this in perspective- I was absent from my dad for over 6 months, and absent from my sister for over 11 months.

Overall, the time spent away from family was a positive thing. I think it aided in the healing process, and also helped me grow as an individual.

2012 was not all doom and gloom. In fact, it was a year full of joy and great experiences. New friendships and memories were created. I witnessed weddings, enjoyed football games all over the south, and even won a few golf tournaments in between.

2012 was marked by a very important lesson that I learned in 2011. It is a philosophy that I am seeking to live by on a daily basis and it goes something like this-
– People matter most. And if you have to choose between investing in others, and doing something for yourself, it is much more rewarding to invest in others. Life live, and take advantage of any opportunities you have to make memories with people that you care about.

Now, this may have resulted in grades that are less than normal. It may have resulted in a little bit more stress and a little bit less sleep… But it was worth it.

Let me put it this way- I will hardly care about the days I spent studying for some pointless exam, but I will certainly care about the memories I made with great people that I chose to invest in.

2012 was a good year. I look back and see many things that frustrate and disappoint me, but overall I am blessed beyond measure. I look to 2013 and see opportunity for tremendous growth. I also see a very challenging year ahead. And with that in mind, I have developed my one and only resolution for the year.

Intense Focus

Simply put, I want to have an intense focus on what I am doing at any given time. And this manifests itself in the little things like studying, exercise, leisure, etc. But on a larger scale, I want intense focus on my priorities. Examples include relationships, education, and military obligations. I want to be 100% focused on the task in front of me every day.
My tendency is to try and multitask. I worry about so many things, and this prevents me from focusing on what I am doing in that particular moment.

That is all for now, thank God for a great year!

– B

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The Reality of Morality

 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened… They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

Romans 1:21&25

I will attempt to keep this short and to the point:

Morality does exist.

I know this is not a radical statement. Many people would agree with it. Obviously people disagree on where morality comes from, but only a minority deny the existence of morality.

At least explicitly deny the existence of morality. These people usually ascribe to some form of Moral Relativism.

(Moral Relativism is a philosophy that essentially states that morality is situational, based on the individual, denying the existence of moral absolutes etc.)

This philosophy has many critics, and rightfully so. I am not going to spend time defeating the philosophy, I just recommend you do some research on your own if you are interested.

I have made an observation that troubles me- Many Christians ascribe to a form of Moral Relativism. Maybe not explicitly, but implicitly.

Consider these statements that I have heard or read in the last year:

“The Bible and the theory of Evolution can co-exist”
“I am against abortion, except in cases of rape and incest”
“It is not the governments responsibility to enforce morality”
“Although I am against homosexuality, it is not my place to prevent homosexual couples from getting married.”

(And I can already hear you preparing to call me a hypocrite, and thats fine because I am.)

Now hear me out. I know I touched on some of the most controversial issues of our day. I probably struck some nerves. I get that, be mad at me.

But listen, here is the issue I have with all of those statements-
They deny the truth of the Word of God.
And why is this important?
Not because of politics
Not because of society
Not because of equal rights
Not for any of those reasons.

This is important because when you deny the truth of the Word of God, then you effectively bring into question the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the very foundation of our Faith. 

Do you see the connection? Do you see why this is so important?!

If parts of the Bible can be discarded, or regarded as untrue.. Then the implications of this are huge. You can completely undermine the Christian faith!

I encourage you to ask this question: Have I exchanged the truth of God for a lie?

Grief

Grief.

For 22 years of my life, I rarely became acquainted with the idea.
In the last 18 months, grief has become one of my best friends. A constant companion almost.
As you may or may not know, I lost my Mother on June 3rd, 2011 after a lengthy battle with cancer. It was at this point that I became very familiar with grief and the process of dealing with grief.

Over the last few months, several people that I love and respect have lost loved ones and they too have become familiar with grief. These events have caused me to think deeply about my grieving process, and also the lessons that I learned through the process. I felt now was a good time to share this insight, so here it goes.

1) Grief is different for everyone:

 One thing we have to realize about grief is that the process is not the same for everyone. I chose to put this point first, because it is important to view the subsequent points through an individual lens. What I share about my experience may not be the same as what you are experiencing right now. With that being said, this is important because it helps us focus on the people around us. When someone close to you dies, it is likely that you will know other people who are also affected by the death of that person. For example, my immediate family. My dad lost his wife and best friend, my sister lost her mother, etc. We all experienced loss at the same time, and we all were dealing with grief at the same time. Looking back, I can see two major mistakes that I made during this time: I was insensitive to the grieving process of my family members, and I viewed them through the prism of my grieving process (Essentially I expected them to grieve as I did).

2) Grief must be engaged:

Grief is a process. In every sense of the phrase, it is a process. There are phases that you will go through. Progress you will make. Back and forth, up and down. Essentially an emotional roller coaster. But here is the key, you MUST engage in the process. You must engage the emotions, the memories, the pain, and also the joy. Believe it or not, joy does exist in the process. It is by engaging the process that healing will come about.

3) Grief leads to growth:

The grieving process is a unique opportunity for growth. It cannot be recreated. It is not something you can learn by reading a book or watching a movie. It is an environment where God can do a wonderful work in your heart and grant you a powerful perspective on life and on Him. Let me put it this way: I learned more about life in the year following my Mothers death, than I did in the previous 22 years of living.

Death is a certainty. If you live long enough, then you will likely experience the death of a loved one. And the longer you live, the more it is going to happen unfortunately. I hope my experience helps you in the future. And know this, although the grieving process is difficult, healing WILL come.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Psalm 147:3