Happy New Year everyone!
It’s that time to do a obligatory post about the New year, how I hope it will be better, and what I want to change… yeah, not to be too “woke” but I don’t really see the point, you can read that anywhere else on the internet, and people talking crap about 2020 also.
2020 was not an easy year for me, as most of you know, but I don’t think the year itself mattered, even if people are just joking about that, I don’t like the idea that a year is just bad. I’m sure it was amazing for some people, and in may ways, my life was still much better overall than the previous year.
My dad was gone for the whole year, thank goodness, and I worked, if only temporarily, more than the prior year. I reached new heights in writing, got some actual fans on my YouTube channel, and of course, a lot of you joined my humble following this year. Plus, I learned how to cook a bunch of new dishes, mostly dessert, and got a car and insurance so I became mobile and much freer.
I also went to therapy and discovered far more about my body and soul than I ever knew before, that part wasn’t fun, bu I look at is as good because of what it make possible in the future.
My health is improving a little more each week, and my emotional state is gradually changing, though it ebbs and flows, I had a bad day yesterday and the day before, today I hope will be better, but it beats a bad week or month. Some of you people also battling mental and emotional problems know exactly what I mean. I hope that if you’re reading this, you are also on the upward slope, but if it doesn’t feel like it yet, I pray you stay in the ring until it does, it will.
So, yeah, that’s my outlook on 2020, nothing particularly profound about it, I just learned it’s better to be grateful.
I guess if the year taught me something, it was that as long as I looked at what I couldn’t do every day because I felt sick or depressed, I would always be depressed. I would always be anxious as long as I thought that was stopping me from doing everything remotely important. But, if I began to count the things I did do each day, even if they were small, and say “My problems didn’t stop me from doing this” then, I began to feel less helpless, and that made me more determined to kick this. I’ve heard similar stuff from others going through the same thing.
It’s really important to know that darkness in your life cannot blot out the light, in fact, it is realizing that that is half the battle of defeating the darkness period. Once you see the light as more important, darkness starts being displaced, it’s amazing.
I still have not gotten a miracle in the form that I envisioned, but I know that there have been miracles in this process, even so, and I hope and believe they will continue into the new year.
It might be interesting to talk about how God views human time, based on what the Bible says.
A lot of people make one of two mistakes about God, they either think He is bound by time the same way we are, and subject to its limitations so that He cannot act outside of it anymore than we can…or, they think that God is outside of time, and therefore, human dates mean nothing to Him.
The second one is closer to truth, but it’s not actually ture, if we pay close attention.
God is outside of time I think the same way a person who stands at the edge of a river is outside the river, you cannot be pulled along by the current if you are outside it, or even just in the shallows. However, if you want to do anything with the river, you will still have to follow its flow.
You have agency in a way a leaf floating down the river doesn’t, however, you can walk back up the bank to any point in the river you like, you can run ahead of it, or you can jump in and float along. But you cannot interact with anything on the river unless you are willing to be part of the flow, or else take that thing out of it. (What you might say death is.)
If God is outside the river, you could say He is putting us in the way you might put a toy boat. You can do it anytime but it will be in the flow until you take it back out. Birth, death, and life, are all like that boat’s journey.
I hope that conveys how God is not bound by time Himself, but since we are, He binds Himself by it in order to speak to us in ways that we can understand, and effect our lives in was that will matter on Earth. David, I believe, said “My life and times are in Your Hands.”
So, in the Bible, God often does use our timeline to order events. He sets a day of rest every 7 days, a year of rest every 7 years, a year of jubilee ever 50 years. Fasts go for 21 days, 40 days, etc. He puts Jonah in whale for 3 days, raise Lazarus after 3 days, and rise from the dead Himself on the 3rd day.
I don’t know why people find it strange that God likes time, who else would have made time but God? I find it pure nonsense to say that timing doesn’t matter.
But we are cautioned not to obsess over it. Paul tells us not to bother too much about what day we observe, and what we don’t, as long as we feel right with God either way. Christians argue (and so do non-Christians) about whether we should celebrate Christmas, Halloween, and other days like that, given the pagan origins.
And the Bible has examples of both choosing not to, and choosing to redeem it by doing something else. I don’t think it matters that much. God probably cares far more if we are kind to each other regardless than He does about a date on the calendar.
It’s not usually the number itself that God seems to find important, it’s the pattern. Certain things come in 3, 4s, 7s, 10s, 12s, and so on. What day on our calendar it is isn’t important, since several parts of the world use different cleaners, the Jewish one is probably the most significant, but I’ve never felt God blessed me less for not using it. It is what it is.
I also don’t really get the point of caring so much you go against the way your country is set up. Like, people who insist on doing it differently just because it used to be that way, even though it inconveniences everyone around them. Do you really think we have the exact calendar God used when He put this in place.
I mean, every year, someone predicts the world will end this year, the Rapture will happen, and we’ll all be out of here, or screwed, if we don’t believe. And none of them every seem to remember that Jesus said that ‘No one know the hour, no one knows the day, not even the Son. Only the Father knows.” See, even Jesus didn’t know when he’s coming back. Just SOON. And the bible says a 1,000 years is as a day, to Him. So, for God, all this time is like 2 days… I think it would be poetic if he came back in the year 3,000. I’m not sure this planet can last 900 more years though. So, hey, what do I know? Maybe he’ll come back 2,000 years from His Ascension and reign for the last 1000. But I’m not saying that will happen. Maybe there will be no pattern so that none of us can possible predict it, that seems to be what Jesus said, he said it will happen when we least expect it. That’s why we are supposed to live as if every year could be the last.
I used to get very upset by that idea, becuase I felt m life was so small, and if God came back now, I’d have wated it.
I think 2020 taught me something else about that too, I’m no longer really worried about it. And this is why:
Turns out, it’s all in the Bible whenever you need it. 1 Corinthians tells us the secret to a full life no matter our circumstances:
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not [b]puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is [d]perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
What fascinates me about this chapter is how it turns all our ideas on their heads. But then, the Word always does. All mysteries and knowledge, all doctrine, all clarity, is useless without love. In fact, if you don’t have love, the last few verse imply, you will not have Clarity. Love is the thing we try to see reflected int he mirror, dimly, but the more we know God, the more we will love, and eventually our love will become perfect as His is perfect.
The greatest saints have all basically ended on that note. By telling us that toe be Perfect in love is essentially the same thing as knowing all, and knowing God. That when we Love like that, we will not need knowledge anymore.
Which is why you will find the deepest wisdom even in the simple and mentally challenged individuals on this planet, because they care far less about the differences and offenses the rest of us do, and they just love.
I note that fiction has understood this better than philosophers have (perhaps that in itself is telling). In fiction, especially romances, (especially anime, oddly enough) the smartest characters are not usually the most loving. Often, in anime, one half of a couple is intelligent, but cold; while the other is a moron, but very loving and unselfish, eventually they thaw the other person out. While the trope annoys me, there is some truth in it. The shows, movies, and books, are not wrong to tell us that love is not bound by intelligence, if anything, it’s harder to love when you think you are too smart.
I think of the movie “Forrest Gump” when Forrest, in one of his best moments, tells Jenny “I may not be smart, but I know what love is.” After Jenny had told him he doesn’t, of course if you watch the movie, Jenny is the one who doesn’t know what love is.
Love is too profound for a genius to explain, but simple enough for a child to understand.
And, in this year, I’ve had very little to offer people, except for love. It felt like I was taking theirs more than giving mine, but I tried to stay connected, and show people I cared still, and be available when they needed it. They didn’t always take me up on it, but they knew, I cared.
And love is what I’ve needed the most from everyone this year. I grew up very unloved, thanks to my parents and my own demons, and being isolated. Unconditional love was not available to me, not because my parents set impossible standards, but because they simply didn’t offer love at all, for the most part. It was very sad.
I have forgiven them a lot, and my mom has made steps forward. She’s tried. I am glad of that. My dad probably never will, but I am learning to accept it.
I found that Love is what fills our time. People who have more outwardly successful lives than I do, feel just as empty. My grandma, who is far healthier than me overall, doesn’t get any enjoyment out of that fact. In my suffering, I was still more joyful than my family who are suffering form insecurities of a different kind.
My life isn’t perfect, but there is Love in it. And I really have God to thank for that, it’s still not mostly from the people around me. They do love me, but I’ve learned that isn’t enough either, unless I am looking to God.
So, even if all I was doing was making a dessert, writing a fanfic, blogging, YouTubing, or visiting a friend, if I did it because I loved them, it wasn’t small. At least no more than regular life as it comes to us is small.
G. K. Chesterton thought everything was small, in a way, if it truly meant anything to you. And that’s true in that what you value most you won’t see as a huge burden. Someone sees 500 miles as a long walk just to get fit, but if it’s to get to your family in dire need, no one would call 500 miles a long distance, in fact, no one worth their family would even think of the distance. That’s how love puts things in perspective.
I wonder if that is why people were so miserable in 2020. No love. Am I hitting home yet? It’s kind of sad if I am, but there is hope. Love is always available to us, thankfully.
If I had to pick a closing thought, it might be something I felt God gave to me the other day: I was praying about believing I was healed NOW, even though I did not see it. And God reminded me of the story of Daniel, praying for an answer, and fasting for 2-3 weeks waiting, when an angel shows up and tells him that God answered his prayer the moment he prayed it, but it took the angel a long time to defeat the demon in charge of the region. Daniel is quite amazed by this, but it tell us something we forget all too often.
NOW is now.
But NOW is also not now.
I thought of something else while I was pondering this, or maybe this thought came first, I don’t remember. Did you know that when we see things, we don’t see them NOW, but in the time it takes light to ounce off them and reach our eyes. It’s less than a second, too small for us to possibly measure it, at least without scientific instruments, but it reality, everything you see is as it was a tiny time in the past…
Makes you question everything, doesn’t it?
But I was annoyed by how my astronomy class used that as a reason to discredit our idea of time. how else can we measure NOW but by what we see, when we see it. Nitpicking terms is silly, Now is what we perceive in the immediate, there is no other way for us to measure it.
But this bit of info made me realize that there are in effect two NOWs. The scientific one, and the one that matters to us, our human now.
And I think God has arranged it that way on purpose. It doesn’t mean our perceptions are invalid, because there is too little time for anything to noticeably change between the light and our reception of it, but our body has to wait.
That’s a lot like how prayer works, if Daniel’s experience is any indication. His prayer was answered at once, in God’s NOW, but the time that was present to Daniel was weeks later.
Prayer is answered, now. But it would be a true saying if we said that Now both means when God actually answers it, and when we get the answer. Sometimes it is immediate for us, but most of the time it takes time.
It’ll spin your head if you let it, but in another way, it’s very simple. The way we decide to do something and we say “It’s done” reflects how we see the intention and the action as essentially the same if we are capable of pulling it off. Action movies use that a lot.
I challenge you to think of time a little differently. Intention and completeion, they really aren’t that far away, in God’s view. Just in ours.
In the same way, whatever we decide to do is what will happen, though it sounds hokey. Of course our plans get changed, but by and large, what we achieve depends on what we decide to achieve.
I hope that gives someone hope. That’s why I say 2021 will be a better year, because I have purposed in my heart, as the Word puts it, to make it better. i will simply see it that way, because I decided that.
2020 may have been out of our control, and 2021 is too, but you decide what you have ultimately. Even under tyranny, what you decide still has massive power.
To the new year! Until next time, stay honest–Natasha.