Happy New Year!
I don’t know about you, but for me, 2023 was a unique and challenging year. I have been reflecting on it a lot. The last few months have been both incredibly busy and intense. I am not entirely sure why (there are some obvious external variables that I can name), but I have been engaged in a very real spiritual battle. No need to delve into too many details, but it was a time of wrestling with God, dealing with a host of fears, and struggling to trust the Lord.
Over the past five or six years I have been consistently reading, writing, and studying about wisdom. However, the last eighteen months, especially the last three, have taught me more about wisdom than all of that study combined. God brought me to a place of acute and raw dependence. I had to come to terms with the fact that without God my work and my life are futile. God made it abundantly clear to me that He is in control, that His ways are better than mine, and that His provision is more than enough. Here are a few takeaways from the year and my season of struggle:
- Wisdom – There is a simplicity to wisdom. When we truly fear God at the deepest level of our heart, the path of flourishing presents itself to us. However, it is not easy to discern what we fear. Sometimes we don’t know until circumstances around us show us what we truly rely on. Dealing with fear in my life has been hard and messy. Fear and faith are linked in ways I still need to understand.
- Community – Working remotely after being a head of school for a long time was far more difficult than I imagined. I have an incredible team, and I am engaging with people in many different ways. However, it is not the same as being physically present with other human beings. This made my situation more complicated, but it also demonstrated the need for connection as others were faithful to encourage me.
- Prayer – Much of my prayer tends to be filled with asking and focused on means to ends. Through some loving admonition, I was encouraged to be still and listen. I did. It was hard and uncomfortable, but God was faithful to speak and be present in ways I did not expect. God is ever-present if I will learn to see and listen.
- Patience – James tells us that God was working “steadfastness” in Job through his trial and suffering. Patient endurance when the circumstances around you are not clear or favorable is profoundly difficult. Your response reveals where your hopes really lie. I am way too inclined to rely on my own will and abilities. I am not in control and when things don’t go how or when I would like, I fix and scurry. Sometimes we just have to wait and trust God. He is always faithful. He delights to provide what we need, when we need it (as He proved to me). The glory will go to Him, not us, as it should. We are part of His work, not the other way around.
May God help us to love and fear Him through another year!