2016 | The Hangover Year

What a title, eh? And somewhat confusing if you know me.

The co-founder of a women’s ministry, an active member of a well-known spirit-filled megachurch, and a consistently pronounced Christian – and I’m writing about a…hangover?

Yes.

I’ve been trying for weeks to determine how I got here. And even as I write that, I feel like I could stop and 100% of you reading could already relate. It’s strange, isn’t it? Millions and millions of different people, stories, situations, careers, families – yet one thing in common with us all.

We’re all trying to just figure it out. Us out. Them out. LIFE out.

And that’s what I’ve spent the last few weeks doing, and honestly – most of 2016.

I began 2016 working for a Fortune 500 home building company as a marketing manager. Within 3 months I was fired and then bullied on social media by the same woman who fired me – with most of the firing and attack rooted in her personal offense to what I believed and who I was. And up until 3 weeks ago, I thought that incident and that woman hadn’t really affected me that much.

*Cue the title*

Though I am not condoning this behavior by writing about it, anyone who knows me – and if you’ve read any of my blogs – you know I’m a “tell it like it is” kind of woman. A guy I dated once told me, “I never have to guess where you’re at or what mood you’re in.” I do this because I’m not trying to pretend I’m someone I’m not or hide the journey to who I become. A burden of vulnerability, I guess – but anyways.

The referred to behavior is that of drinking heavily. There are times when I’ve done it because I didn’t properly prepare (meaning eat enough) and then became more intoxicated than I would have liked. And then there have been times when I knowingly put myself in the state of drunkenness.

And before you send me a scripture, I’m fully aware that this is a sin and the good Lord above has had more than one talking to with me about it and because of which, I’m putting into effect a resolution to take such into precaution in the new year. But I digress…

What this blog is meant to reference is the physical state in which follows this level of intoxication the day after – the reluctant and never admired, hangover.

You’re sick, your head hurts, your nauseous, loud noises catch you off guard and bright lights make you wince as if your eyes were just dilated. You are on guard, trying fully to make sure you remember everything you did in the 12 hours prior, and more than anything – paranoid that anyone who sees the slightly leftover make-up on your face knows what you did the night before. You feel exposed, but also so hidden and tired because of all of the above.

I really do hope you’re picking up where this is going by now.

This was my year. The year where this one aforementioned incident caused months of hangover symptoms to ensue.

I’ve been sick – not always physically, but at times have become sick because of other symptoms. My head is tired of the relentless pursuit to figure out my life. My heart is exhausted from setting expectations and placing expectations on people knowing that there was no way they (or I) could meet them. My muscles are tired from the strain caused by the fear of rejection, pain, and ultimate hurt that could possibly come from any and all directions. My body is tired from running away from things that I need to just let go of and towards goals that were never supposed to be ones in the first place. My eyes are wincing from the blinding pursuit of perfection. And my spiritual life has been a ferris wheel of up and down emotions with the Lord leading to a nauseating feeling that I’ve let Him down in my endless need to fix, control, and protect.

And because of all of this, I’m placing my hangover days and all the symptoms mentioned above at the feet of Jesus and not looking back in 2017. I’ve never been more aware of my incredible need for Jesus and I’m even more aware of the impossible expectations I have placed on myself, people around me, and situations in my life – and I’m letting those sink into the past alongside all that was 2016.

The hangover is over. I’ve taken the Tylenol of forgiveness and repented-ness needed to move on, I’ve stared into the mirror and acknowledged the tear stains on my cheeks to properly grieve what was and what will never be, and now I’m washing my face and asking God to create in me a clean heart and pure spirit.

—-

For many this has been the toughest year of their life, and I can’t completely disagree. 2014 was brutal for me due to external circumstances, and though 2016 had some of those – it was more brutal due to my own internal demons. And I’m ready to walk into 2017 cleansed, healed, redeemed, restored, and fully sober.

Here’s to the growth that came in spite of the scars required to attain it in 2016 and the perspective gracefully given in time to walk into 2017 ready, hopeful, and fully aware of what’s needed – and more so, what’s not.

Prayer to End, Then to Begin…

Thank you God, for the many many ways you still provided for me, protected me from myself, chose over and over again to passionately love me and call me home to you, and regardless of my left-over make-up, nauseated, and sickly self – still allowed me to continue to be a part of a much bigger story in 2016. May I do the honor of allowing the growth that came from this year to be planted and bring to harvest beauty from the ashes of the past.

Allow my heart to skip a beat for you as my awareness of my ultimate dependence in you increases day in and day out. Give me eyes to see the things, the people, the opportunities, and the miracles you have for me in each hour, day, and month of 2017. Take the selfish, controlling, prideful, and just mean spirits in me and replace them with a servant, sacrificial, loving, generous, confident, trusting, and steadfast self.

And Lord most of all, let this year not be filled with excuses – but actions, BOLD ones. Call out of me greatness and allow myself the ability to see myself daily the way you see me. May this year be a year where your daughter focuses on herself more than ever before – not for my own devices, but for the ultimate coming together of your perfect and unique plan for my life.

Dear sweet beloved of mine, come and have your way. Heal the sickness, repair the brokenness, and restore what may have been lost.

Most of all – in all things, at all times – thy will be done in 2017 for your ultimate glory and my good.

Amen.

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