Halftime: Reflections on 2019 and the Road Ahead

It’s a rainy day in Marais when the light comes on.

Like Yusuf’s dream in Inception, there’s much noise in this gothic paradise. A sleepy ambiance met by projections reminding me 4,357 miles isn’t enough to hide from the past.

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But the scene, at least, is a start. What I’ve desired for years…now a temporary reality. Finally, I’m not in familiar territory. For once, it feels right to be an alien.

Wife in hand, this stroll along an endless alleyway of cafés reaches a final turn. This walk to remember a fitting yet haunting reminder to how far we’ve come in nine months…and how far we still have to go.

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I dare not repeat last year’s tale with context so easily accessible these days. I guess if there’s anything worth saying, it’s nothing you haven’t heard before.

We are all works in progress. I, like many, drifting high in the ranks wondering…

…How can one feel stronger and weaker at the same time?

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For instance, four, five plus years ago, I would have needed someone to acknowledge growth to feel it was genuine. I would have needed positive affirmation, especially from peers, to believe I had something to offer.

But this year, that insecurity has faded into a fastened peace. Sustained victory, once foreign, now an emerging trend in a maturing faith. No longer do I see my value as accomplishments divided by voids. No longer am I trying to please people. No longer am I finding meaning in ego.

Progress. It’s a beautiful thing.

Of course, this doesn’t mean I’m no longer finding security in what I once feared (i.e. loneliness and escape). Or that there aren’t days when I feel like a UFO standing in the rain…

…going down but still the same.

Indeed, the upticks are real, but there are plenty of days when all I can do is stand…

…and I long the norm to be ‘run‘ again.

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On paper, there’s much to be excited about. The countdown to Milo. Lys thriving as a children’s pastor at our home church. Caeden and Everly are better than ever. Projects like His Girl Fryday, Fry Freelance, Commission U, Momma Wears Many Hats looking to take flight.

I get what the tab says.

At the same time, the year has been unique for other reasons. My closest colleagues at work are now gone. God-given assignments are struggling for traction. And for the first time in years, I’m pouring into roles I may not ever occupy.

In all things, courage is a daily choice amidst the hustle, especially on days when I feel surrounded by enemies…when I wish I could have more time with those who had something to pour in.

But it’s those moments when I’m reminded how thankful I am for…thanksgiving. Honestly, I don’t know how God’s joy as strength would be possible otherwise.

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If 2019 has taught me anything, it’s how poor I am in receiving from the Lord. Call it a burden of heritage. Call it self-preservation. Call it a performance mentality on its last leg. Either way, I’d much rather sow into people on an empty tank than not be sowed into at all. I figure worst case, I’m at least getting somewhere while doing something right.

But there is a best case…and it’s one I’m basking in as I write this: As much as we want to open certain eyes and reconcile the impossible, I believe in all we say and do there’s always a way to worship God with one hand up (raised) and one hand out (open-palmed)…a way to exalt Him with hopeful expectation regardless of circumstance.

No entitlement. No efforting. Just faith and hunger colliding into total praise. Abiding simplified in its purest form.

As I told Lys last week, when crap hits the fan, I never want to take the easy way out; I want to take the simple way out. Sure, life may get complicated, but that doesn’t mean my reactions have to be. Christ’s power in me, I can possess my emotions. I can see the ‘God problem’ behind the ‘person problem’. And I can endure with perseverance as I receive His rest, especially when it doesn’t make sense.

After all…

…perseverance isn’t a means to strength, but a means to endure when strength is lacking.

Granted, who am I to say ‘be strong’ when my first daily checklist item is ‘take Bupropion’. Seems I should be free of that sorta thing if I’m to break out and do what I was meant to.

Then again, in a year that started with three antidepressants, maybe being down to one is an apposite microcosm…

…to one who’s not only making it, but shaking it off and shaking it out.

Slowly but surely…

…the best is yet to come.

Selah.

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Cover photo creds: HDWallpapers

 

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