While I was eighteen, I discovered I wasn’t who I thought I was. At all. I discovered some beliefs I had been taught weren’t at all Biblical but had been twisted to create chains around me rather than give me freedom in Christ’s love. And, I experienced some good times and bad times.
The good times. That was when I finally saw Sherlock, when I discovered I liked the worlds of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, when I found The Office. When I talked to my best friend every week about literature, when we stuck back to back during those wicked fun games of Cops and Robbers, wearing capes and running like the wind. When I got to go to the State fair, when I met Stephen at Family Camp, when I was first struck with the idea of my novel, when I graduated from high school level education and when I cut my hair off.
And, bad times, too. When I actually felt the need to stay in my room away from hurtful atmospheres for several very long weeks. When selfish choices caused us to leave another church; when I couldn’t even say a proper goodbye to my best friend.
The thing about time, whether good or bad, is that goes by so slowly yet so quickly; that’s something I learned this past year. A day can drag out for ages but a year can feel the equivalent to a couple of months at the most. I learned that while it’s important to forgive bad times, you should never forget them because the past always repeats it’s self; I will do myself no good by not learning from the past and exposing myself to get hurt in the exact same way. At the same time, I’ve learned that I need to document all the good times, because so often they get overshadowed and forgotten in the face of difficulty. I can easily forget all the good times I’ve had and only remember the bad. So, it’s important to write them down so it stays imprinted longer in my mind. Good times are gifts.
When I was eighteen, I had the realization that being a rebel doesn’t always mean you’re doing something wrong, it only means you are turning from something perceived as normal. I learned that it’s more important to follow my own God-given convictions rather than mimic or just do what I think others expect just because I’m afraid of what people might think of me if I have different convictions than they do. I also learned that is important to let other people have their own convictions outside of my own. When I was eighteen, I learned I was special and that I mattered to people and that I could encourage people more than I thought possible and that there was only one me.
I learned a lot when I was eighteen.
But today it’s different, because today I am no longer eighteen.
Now that I have turned nineteen, I wonder what else I will learn this upcoming year. I really don’t know what is around the corner of my life; I never have and I never will. But I have a feeling that a new dawn is coming for me. Where I can finish being freed from twisted theology and step into the freedom of Christ’s true gospel. Where I will know myself better, know what my boundaries are, know what my personal convictions are, and stick to them for my own safety and well being. Where I will have more confidence in both myself and in the humanity around me, however lacking both of us are. Where I can be more like the me God meant me to be without all this sticky, black fear.
I think that’s what I’m looking forward to the most. Learning to no longer be afraid.
Nineteen, please be amazing.