Only two posts in all of 2016. Now that is sad. But it's also understandable.
When I started this blog, I was well aware of the fact that everything I posted would be there forever, that it was posted in public, and that anyone in the world could read it if they wanted to. But, I thought, "I'm nobody, so what does it matter if I talk about the things I do? Only my family and friends care, and they're the ones I'm writing to, and if a random stranger does happen across my page and the content pleases and entertains them, no big deal."
It's interesting, though, how life's experiences bring pain. Close encounters with one or two toxic people a couple of years back made me very reluctant to post anything any more, lest "they" should be watching--those people who hurt me, the people who might still be interested in knowing what I'm up to, the people who might be keeping tabs on me for their own unknown reasons. And suddenly the world seemed a much less friendly place, and my blog died.
In the midst of that season, I kept resolving to resurrect it, but my posting habits fell from a high of 215 posts in the year 2012 to just 9 in 2015 and only 2 in 2016. Alas. So much for resolutions, when resolutions are eclipsed by deep-rooted factors that provide much more persuasive reasons why not to post.
Maybe one day, I'll have the courage to tell the stories of the way I saw toxic people hurt others and what became of it. Maybe one day, I'll have the perspective to draw conclusions, reveal the common pattern that these people operated by, and spare others from falling into a similar pitfall.
For now, though, it's an act of courage even to pull off posting something as simple as a year in review. For now, it requires the silencing of alarm bells in my brain before I can view any post as not "dangerous." Posting to a blog is dangerous. Perhaps it is more dangerous because of enemies I haven't met yet than it is because of the enemies I have left behind. But it's also dangerous to me not to post (or at least, to write). I have so many things that I haven't processed or fully understood, simply because I haven't written about them. I am less in touch with the things I have encountered, seen, and done, because for me, I don't fully experience things until I've written about them. I have experience growing pains that I have failed to fully grow into simply because I didn't write about them. And there was something indefinable about knowing that there were people who could read what I had written that motivated me to write.
So how to get through a dilemma like this? For now, one small step. I'll post the year in review, as an act of courage and defiance to that pull that says, "No, no, no, don't."
A friend of mine warned me that I was getting to love money too much, and shared some warning scriptures along that line. Perhaps it was true. I was unconscious of the fact that I was sliding into a comfortable snobbery where the needs of, say, the homeless, were becoming less of a thing to have compassion for and more of a thing to just dismiss as "their problem" (and something I'd rather be sheltered from even hearing about). Not a good state to be in. My long-time passion and fervor for missions had waned to the point that I was doubtful if I could ever choose to leave a job as nice as mine to go back to the mission field.
On February 4, I fasted and prayed a prayer of definite renewal of consecration to God. I gave him everything I could think of to name: my house, my career, my possessions, my books, the stuff in my garage, my bike, my gadgets (like tools, a headlamp, etc.), my craft supplies, my kitchen stuff, my silverware, my health, my skin, my hair, my shoes, my clothes, my finances, my food, my ability to eat healthy, my electronics, my garden, my car, y dishes, my reputation, my ability to have Christian friends, my instruments, my freedom from pain, my ironing board & iron, my little luxuries of having the right tool for the right occasion (like a tortilla press or a candy thermometer), my cookware, my Wusthof knives, my cleaning supplies, my uninterrupted solitude, my bedroom set, my safety and comfort, my ability to give nice gifts, my talents, my weaknesses, all that I am and all that I have.
The next day (a Friday), I was sitting at work and I had the vivid thought (as clearly as being told) that I was going to lose my job.
"Ah!" I thought, "I have been wondering if I could bring myself to choose to leave this job...but what if the choice is not going to be left to me?" I expected that I would lose my job Monday, so I packed up all my personal items from my desk and took them home with me that night.
Monday came and went, Tuesday came and went, but Wednesday morning, the chief sales officer asked me to come with her. I knew what it meant. I asked her how she was recovering from her cold, and she thanked me for thinking about her in a moment like that while we walked over to the conference room. The HR director was sitting there. They informed me politely that my position had just ended. I thanked them politely for the great experience and the opportunity they had given me to become a better professional. I still remember Lauren responding with heartfelt fervor, "Rebekah, you are a fabulous professional." And I walked back to my desk, said goodbye to my coworkers, and that period of my life was over. (The company had just been bought by another company the day before, and they closed my entire department.)
The Lord took my consecration seriously, and He immediately touched the "career" category, but yet, He protected me and took very good care of me all along the way through the period of my unemployment.
MARCH - MAY
I attempted to start a business, putting into practice all the things I had learned about marketing, but I was unsuccessful. I was also unsuccessful at finishing a book that I was attempting to finish. I ended that season feeling like a failure. It's disappointing to fail. It hurts.
A newborn nephew beckoned me up to Washington, where I took care of my brother's kids and cooked for two weeks when my sister-in-law had a new baby. That was a joyous time of connecting with my sweet nephews.
Another newborn nephew beckoned me from Tennessee, so I drove back the other way across the country to help cook & clean with that new little pumpkin's arrival. I also got to attend a cousin's wedding, visit people from Virginia to Florida, and attend another friend's wedding.
I resumed job hunting in earnest.
I got hired at a marketing agency where I now make my living as a writer, writing blogs and website content for our customers.
I agreed to commit to help someone out by cooking 3 meals a day for someone who was on a special diet. I had to fix meals that were gluten free, dairy free, soy free, corn free, dye free, processed food-free, sugar free, and 100% organic for 12 weeks. That taxed me to the limit some days, and I canceled everything except for work in order to pull that off. It was a relief when it ended, but I also felt I had grown and expanded in that experience.
I got to go up to Washington AGAIN to spend Christmas with my brother. So many good times.
And there you have it. My year in review.