Boy oh boy. What a year. Definitely not what I expected, yet somehow far greater than I could have ever imagined. It’s hard to sit here now just hours before 2018 and summarize the year that just passed, for, to be totally honest, I’m still trying to wrap my head around everything that has happened. I think what makes 2017 so hard to define is the unavoidable reality that I experienced both my greatest lows and highs within this year. What started as a year cemented in the realities of my greatest fears becoming true, blossomed into the most rewarding and exciting life. So yeah, the lines of good and difficult have become a little blurred, which is, in my opinion at least, the most obvious sign of living a full life.
In Christian communities especially, the concept of a full life, based on faith, is often stressed on all individuals. Everyone has heard John 10:10, in which Jesus explains that He came so that we may have a full life. What I feel isn’t as widely advertised however, is the reality of what living a full life of faith actually looks like. Most people expect the expression “life to the fullest” to express a life in which an individual is fully happy, having incredible experiences, and loving every second of it. What many forget however, is that Jesus had a full life based on faith, but He certainly didn’t enjoy every second of it. Jesus mourned, He faced wrongful conviction, He literally sweat blood, oh and not to mention, He was freaking crucified! Yeah, doesn’t sound as fun as the travel vlogs that now seemingly represent the modern day interpretation of “life to the full”, does it? What is crucial to remember, is that it was out of Jesus’ immense hardships and devastating circumstances that He literally saved the entirety of the human race and restored our relationship with God. Literally the greatest good of all time came out of a circumstance that logically seemed like the end of everything. Like we’re talking about a situation that LITERALLY CAUSED THE SON OF GOD TO SWEAT BLOOD!!! THAT IS THE DEFINITION OF HIGH STRESS LEVELS OK!!! YET OUT OF SUCH A SITUATION CAME THE GREATEST GOOD EVER!!!! CAN YOU TELL I’M EXCITED ABOUT THIS RIGHT NOW???
THIS IS WHAT A FULL LIFE LOOKS LIKE.
A full life means being both fully happy and fully sad at certain points. A full life means experiencing some absolute crap, but witnessing the insane good that comes from it. A full life, especially one of faith, means learning to let go of the steering wheel, and allowing God to guide your path. I guarantee you, Jesus did not come and do everything He did, so that you can sit here now and continue to perform out of your own strength. You want to be fully happy? Give everything to God, and I promise that you experience the pure joy He gives. BUT, you have to be willing to go through some hard days, because it’s the hard ones that make the good ones so much sweeter.
So yeah, this year was a full year. Never before have I felt emotions so fully. And I’m not talking about being so happy that you scream, I’m talking about the kind of happy that leaps from your eyes, the kind that makes you hurt from smiling, the kind of happy that stops you in your tracks, and forces you to appreciate the moment you’re in. Similarly, I’m not talking about the kind of sad that makes you cry, oh no no no, I’m talking about the kind of sad that consumes your entire being, that physically weakens you, that stops you from speaking, the kind that completely captures your mind, in which the only cure is to sleep away the pain. Yeah, these are the characteristics that surmise a full life.
And now as I say goodbye to the challenges of 2017, and compose the final words of a chapter that took more out of me than I could ever express, a chapter that completely transformed me as an individual, a chapter I will never ever forget; I’m here to tell you that going into 2018, I will 100% be practicing what I’m currently preaching. While I know that the big trial portion of my childhood testimony is coming to a close, I will still be living a full life, but now, I’m at the whole Jesus resurrects part of the story ;).
2017, you brought me more than I could’ve ever asked for. Thank you for bringing restoration. You’ll forever be known as the year I learned to enjoy the journey and began to see God’s promises like never before.
To my friends, you all are absolute gems. Thank you for giving me the best days of my life. Whether we were dancing to Mr. Brightside in the streets of Brooklyn, dreaming on the beach under the stars, running through the streets of Manhattan in the middle of the night, eating pizza in the Priory, dancing in the mosh pit at church, performing Off-Broadway, or simply distracting each other during our free periods, you guys have showed me what true friends look like, and have blessed me with moments I will never forget. You all deserve the world.
To my family, you three have showed me what true love looks like. Your faithfulness to God and each other is the greatest gift, and words can’t even begin to describe how thankful I am. We’ve been through more than anyone else understands, yet through it all, no matter how unpredictable things became, we had each other. May 2018 be the year we step into the fullness of what we know is our future. I love you always and forever.
And to you, my readers, thank you for allowing me this platform to express myself, no matter how sporadic my appearances become. I am forever grateful for your faithfulness, and am so excited for what the future holds. Whether this year was the greatest year of your life, or the absolute worst, remember there are far greater things ahead than what you left behind. Now let’s make 2018 the best year of our lives!
Some of my favorite moments from this year. Thanks for the memories, 2017. Onto bigger and better things we go!