Forward From Here

by Jimmy Pruitt

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The splash of raindrops. I had to open my window just to let the sound drift into my little room. It’s late December and I’m struggling to see with a clear vision into the coming new year.

I feel an awkward pressure every twelfth month to come up with something profound for the dawning of a new calendar year. Nothing. I want to find a word. A phrase. Something inspiring. I’m getting zilch.

It’s funny how we pressure ourselves into these little corners of expectation. Self-imposed stress. Needless really. As if I need a personal vision for a new year. After all, the past year will go down in our family memoirs as the year from hell.

The year we were jobless. The year we were homeless. The year we lived out of a suitcase. The year Rachel, my 13 year old, slept on an air mattress. The year I sent out 260 plus resumes only to be turned down again and again and again. The year I met the suffering Servant of the scriptures.

As Westerners, we are quick to place a template of our current cultural context over the life of Jesus as though he lived in the burbs, drove an Audi, and took videos of his kid’s indoor soccer games on his smartphone. It’s not the picture we get in scripture of a Messiah who had no place to lay His head.

Is it sacrilege to say “good riddance” to a whole year? Is it wrong to not be excited about Christmas this year due to our displacement and the fact we are living in someone else’s home? Is it unspiritual for me to long for one season to be over in order to move forward into the next?

I feel tainted for the thoughts that come into my mind when I see posts on social media of friends and virtual friends whose lives seem to be shiny, tidy and put together nicely while ours is none of those things. Envy is a prison cell of sorts.

Perhaps I’m being too honest. Too raw. Too real. I should polish this up. Remove the rust, lest some think my faith is weakening. Or maybe we, on occasion, need an unfiltered dose of open-wounded reality in order to know that the climb out of the valley will be worth it all.

In case you’re wondering right about now (I probably would be)… I have not lost my faith. In fact, it’s more intact than it has ever been. It’s more honest and more grounded than at any other time in my life. In spite of our temporal circumstances, hope has not been lost, though scratched and dented. Growth has occurred.

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil 3:13-14 NKJV

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