A New Year Bejeweled…

Coming into a new year, people always focus on the fact that you can’t change the past, that the past must be moved on from in order to appreciate the new. While I sat listening to “sermonettes” on like “Get Yours in 2013” “Keep on Knocking” and “Trials Will Come,” the focus seemed to be on consistency, focus and faith. The thing that stood out the most to me was in “Keep on Knocking,” when Dan stated how Satan sends emotional weapons to distract us from the “door” we are knocking on (and I am paraphrasing and forgeting some already): Anger makes us get mad at the door and stop knocking; jealousy makes us envious of what’s coming through someone else’s door instead of knocking on our own; pride says “I don’t need the door.” He was begging us to be consistent and persistent in our asking.

As I was sitting playing Bejeweled, I realized how the game messes up my strategy. I usually see more than one match to be made and I have to choose which one will most benefit me. I always mentally earmark the other choice(s) to come back to later. The thing is, though, often times by making one match, we lose the alignment that makes the other possible. Many times sitting there, I wish I could choose over again, to make a different choice. When I don’t slow down to fully appreciate how one move closes off the opportunity to make another move down the road, the game always ends quickly.

Reflecting back on last year, what I realized is that by focusing on gathering information to make a decision in my life, I through other things that were sure matches out of alignment. There’s no way to live without risk, no such thing as a sure thing except the things that fit when you put them together. Because I was so focused on being able to reach a decision in my relationship by the end of this year, other goals and focuses were neglected. The ultimate question will be “how did that move change the game?”

The major difference was that 2012 was supposed to be more about me; it ended up being mostly about one aspect of my life, an aspect that is still uncertain. I didn’t get the concrete thing I was searching for, and the opportunity to focus more on myself, what I wanted and needed, making myself look and feel more like the Erica I wanted to be, escaped me; that match was no longer able to be made. While I did well in my career, my star didn’t shine as brightly as it could have. I didn’t get started figuring out my next step as quickly as I should.

I don’t want you  to believe it all went bad, though. For some reason, when you’re not focused on some things, you see it more clearly out of the corner of your eye than you do head on. Since I wanted to be in a position to be able to marry or move on, I through all the extra income that came my way into bettering my position. I paid off bills (and cars!), I bought cleaning supplies, food, and hygiene products more regularly to make sure my home had everything I would need to maintain it. I got to take more trips (to New Orleans and St. Augustine, to name a few). I broke the payday advance cycle.

Not only did I get into a better position financially and get better at creating and maintaining a home for myself, I became a better person. I learned to communicate better. I took better care of myself from a health standpoint, getting back into exercising each day. I wrote more on my book and really found the vein that carries ideas to the whole body of work. I prayed for other people more last year than I ever have, specifically for marriages and families. It was as if my eyes had been opened to the couples around me in a new way. I wasn’t focused on what they had that I didn’t or being jealous that they were married and I wasn’t; I was able not only to be happy for them, but to truly care about them.

Whenever we make a choice, we have not made other choices. Sometimes we can still make a choice we didn’t in the future and sometimes the choice is lost to us forever. Each day we awake is a clean slate to make better decisions, not just each new year. We can never be 100% sure that a choice is best for us, better than other choices we can make. But with prayer, studying and meditating on God’s Word,  and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we must make choices.

Of course, none of this tells you how my ultimate decision 2012 turned out, nor does it tell you what the word of the year is for this year. That will have to wait until after I pick up these tickets to the Capital One Bowl.



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