31st December 2016. It seems like it was only yesterday when I was writing down my hopes and dreams for 2016. I was both thrilled and terrified of what 2016 had in store for me and I only had courage enough to make only one resolution: 2016 would be a year of facing my fears, a year where I wouldn’t sit, cry and wish for a better day but one where I would do all it took to have a great day. 2016 would be a year where I would be the David boldly standing before Goliath even when everyone else was fleeing and cowering in fear.
2016 is now gone, and with it, a major fear that has so often held me back from fully living: the fear that I wasn’t good enough. Yes, for far too long, I have both consciously and unconsciously let life pass me by, while I lingered and hid in the shadows, too afraid to let the light shine on me lest it exposed all my inadequacies. I couldn’t have been more wrong. This year has taught me that there are so many people so taken up by the seeming beauty of other people’s stories that they continually bend, break and torture themselves in an attempt to fit in the crowd of these people with seemingly beautiful stories. Unknown to them, with each attempt, they lose out on the uniqueness and beauty of their own story.
While recently visiting my dad, somewhere deep in a village that you might not find on Google maps, I realized just how blind I have been all this while. See, there were days when I was so embarrassed of where I came from that when anyone asked, I made up a place and then gave evasive answers when asked for details. There were days when I mentioned names of places I had never set foot into as my most favorite hangouts because I needed to fit in. There were days when I confidently said “my room this, my room that.. ” well knowing that I lived in a 2 bed-roomed house, without even a claim to a bed except when one of my siblings was away. There were days when my mother came to visit me at school, and because she had no car, wore no expensive clothes or shoes and carried no supermarket bags I thought, “God, why me?” In those days, I cried myself to sleep as I agonized over thoughts of lacking so much while everyone else lived in excess. Eventually, I realized I would never fit in, and because I did not want to be caught in a web of lies, I instead built walls to protect myself. No one that I thought better off than I was, was allowed inside these walls; no one was allowed to see who I really was or where I came from because I thought if they did, I might never recover from the shame. And each day, I convinced myself that with all these glaring inadequacies, I just wasn’t good enough. I convinced myself that I didn’t measure up.
And now, so many years later, I am grateful to God that I am able to see more clearly. I look back and realize that the very places I was so embrassed about are the places that have raised me and nurtured me into the awesome person I am today. I realize that the people I was ashamed of are the very people that slaved away, sacrificing their own dreams just to see me become the success I am today. I realize that instead of being embarrassed and ashamed, I should have been more proud of myself for making it so far when I had so little. More importantly, I realize that God wrote my story this way, not to set me up for embarrassment or make me a subject of ridicule, but to simply show His Glory and prove His faithfulness. God was just showing me that He knew the end from the beginning, and it didn’t matter where I started, I would eventually make it. God was just showing that He uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. All this while, He was showing me the beauty in my story.
Yes, 2016 is done and if I cannot be grateful for anything, atleast I will be grateful that God finally opened my eyes to see the uniqueness and beauty of my story. I am grateful that He’s shown me that I have always been enough; not because of any material thing I have, but simply because I have Him: because I have Him, I have all I need.
I don’t know how your 2016 has been; may be it was great or may be it wasn’t. May be you got hurt or disappointed. May be it was a sad and trying year for you, I can’t tell. But, however it was, I am here to give you reason to celebrate and be grateful: God has been with you through it all and He’s the sole reason you are here today. And as you enter 2017, if you cannot be sure of anything, be assured that God is going to see you through it too: through all the ups and downs, highs and lows, He’s never going to leave nor forsake you!
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU!