Europe 2019: Ringing in the New Year and Intrinsic Value

And just like that, January, 2019 has arrived. I write from Birmingham airport where I’m waiting to board a final flight back to Edinburgh after a few weeks of running around Eastern Europe. I got to spend a crazy New Year’s Eve night with a bunch of friends in Romania enjoying music, dancing, games, food, sermons, speeches, skits, and fireworks. A full January 1st climaxed in a much-dreaded goodbye to my friends there and a ride through Romanian countryside back to Bucharest and the airport. I flew to Birmingham, England and spent a quick 48 hours with another Romanian friend and her sister in Leicester before returning to Birmingham for my journey’s final leg back to Scotland. I’m tired, incredibly blessed, and full of all the feels from an incredible Christmas break journey.

 

Helping my friends with a young adult retreat in Romania

 

I already wrote a “lessons learned in 2018” post and I’m a little brain-fried at the moment, so this is mostly a “Hi Mom” blog update. But here’s a jumble of sleep-deprived thought on heading into the new year.

 

One of the biggest impressions 2018 has left on me is my need to shift my frame of perspective – the way I look at myself, God, and my role in the world – from “doing” to “being.” That doesn’t mean I’m going to give up work or improvement or worthwhile investment of energy to become a robe-wearing, mountain-top-sitting, sedentary monk. It does, however, mean that I have long been wrestling with an inability to comprehend my value by any other parameters than my accomplishment, status, job title, or accolades. I have long outwardly professed, and inwardly rejected, the notion that my value must come from the worth which God alone bestows, and that no other parameter undermines. This past year, the curtain has slipped a bit farther to reveal the damaging effects of my stubborn attempts to prove my worth to God, myself, and the world by anything I can do. I don’t know much, but I do know this — I need to release this frivolity. Only by learning first to be will I become able to do what it is God has for me to do.

 

The horizon from where we do camp in Targoviste, Romania — I’ll never get tired of this view

 

Thus far, in the first days of 2019, I’ve already managed to spectacularly jump ship and spend a good amount of mental energy treading water next to the “being” boat, frustrating myself and probably giving God a good chuckle. But the year is young and I’m filled with the jubilant, if not a bit naive, optimism January 1st can bring about.

 

Exploring the city center in Leicester, England

 

Who’s with me? To all who strive, struggle, and work to achieve things, even things “for God,” but really maybe to boost one’s self-worth (or credibility, twitter followers, all-around piety, etc.), you’re not alone. And the good news: the boat’s near the harbor waiting to carry you. God would love to give your self-worth a true makeover. It’s our choice to jump onboard this year.

 

Keep me posted and let’s try this thing in 2019.

 

More soon,

 
-LS

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