December 28, 2018
When I was learning to draw and paint as a child, I only painted three things: a nipa hut with rice fields and a mountain in the background, a sunny day on the beach, and the sun setting on the sea or the river. It wasn’t surprising because we usually draw or paint familiar scenes, and the sunset in Western Visayas is a scene to behold.
I remember watching in fascination at the gradient of colors in the sky and how the water reflects it—how it starts from a blazing orange, then shifts to a gorgeous canvas of red and purple, until finally darkness falls and all that beauty is gone with a snap of the finger. I wouldn’t want to miss a single moment!
The year is about to end and as the sun sets on 2018, here are three things we can reflect on about the year.
Although sunsets happen every day, every sunset is different. The colors may be the same, but how they appear change.
That’s why I love watching every moment of the sunset: I know when night comes, I can’t fully recapture what has been because the next sunset will be different.
In a year, there are things that may be similar to the previous ones—the same school, the same friends, the same teachers, the same family— but no two experiences are exactly the same.
That moment when you and your dad talked over coffee, when you and your sibling laughed at a joke, or when you and your friends had deep talks—those moments will never happen again in exactly the same way. We can only enjoy the memories, but we can’t recapture the moments.
That’s why we need to be fully present in every encounter, to build good memories from the happy ones and truly learn from the heartbreaking ones.
This 2019, how can you become more present in school? With your family? With your friends?
How were the past twelve months?
Personally, I feel like five years worth of experience happened just this year. It was like a roller coaster ride, where some parts left my head spinning and some parts felt so slow and suspenseful that I just wanted to move on to the next part.
Now that the year is ending, there might be some bad things we need to let go of.
Maybe you didn’t get the grades you wanted, you didn’t get into your dream school, or the course you chose is not exactly what you imagined it would be.
Maybe you got separated from your friends in high school and you find it hard to find new friends in university, hindi ka crush ng crush mo, or that special someone who promised to stay, didn’t.
Perhaps you and your siblings still fight like cats and dogs, your parents didn’t get back together, or your family is still struggling financially.
These things may make us feel hopeless or guilty, thinking maybe we didn’t have enough faith. But God is always doing something in the background. He is always ensuring our progress. He is constantly thinking about how to build our character, strengthen our faith, and redirect us to His plans.
On the other hand, you may also need to let go of some good things. Sometimes we get stuck on the great moments, we forget that there are even better things ahead.
If you were able to check all of your faith goals in 2018, that’s awesome! It’s a testimony of God’s grace in your life. But it’s also something we can build our faith on for what He has in store for 2019 and the years to come.
However your 2018 turned out, God is always sovereign over our lives. He turns everything—the good and the bad—for the good of those who love Him, according to His purpose and not according to our plans. (Romans 8:38)
What are the bad things you need to leave behind in 2018? What are the good things you can treasure but move on from?
Have you ever stopped praying for something because you’ve had it in your faith goals for years and nothing seems to happen?
Maybe it’s time for you to pray for it again. Maybe the past year is not God’s timeline for it, but He is calling you to keep believing until it happens.
Maybe He wants you to take little steps toward accomplishing it. Maybe He is opening your eyes to how in this season of waiting for the promise, you can be a blessing to the people you are with right now.
Maybe He is setting you on a different direction. Maybe He wants you to seek Him and know Him more in the process of finding His will.
All this to say, unless God closes the door or redirects you, keep the faith.
And when God does say “No,” remember that it’s not the end. It is simply the beginning of another dream.
While endings are sad, they are necessary and still very beautiful, like the sunset. Endings give us hope and make us expectant as to what the new day will bring.
What are the dreams you can start believing for again in 2019? What are new dreams God is putting in your heart?
“So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.”
John 1:14 (NLT)
Our assurance as the sun rises on 2019 is that God is as constant as the rising and setting of the sun.
Just as we can trust Him for 2018, we can wholeheartedly throw ourselves in the process of seeking Him, knowing Him more, and watching His plans and purpose unfold in the years to come.
Photo credits: Gerard Emmanuel Cayco