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Highlights of 2009

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It’s time to look back at what was great (and maybe not so great) about the past year. Hopefully soon I’ll write about what’s been rolling around in my head in regards to goals for 2010—I’m still processing some things—but for now I thought it would be fun to share some memorable moments from the last 12-months of being alive.

Best Book(s) I Read in 2009

Irresistible Revolution and Jesus for President

These books—both by a truly revolutionary guy named Shane Claiborne—literally changed the way I think about what it means to be a Christian. Claiborne discusses what it looks like to be a follower of Jesus in a country where people—many of whom call themselves Christians—place their hope and trust in material possessions and political power. He challenges the way we see the world and, through his words and actions, encourages us to embrace a different reality, one that is informed by the mission of Christ. I read both books early in the year and I am still digesting many of the things Shane has to say. These are definitely re-reads for 2010.

Best movie of 2009

Due to the broad variety of elements that can make a movie memorable, it’s difficult to set several great movies side by side and say that one was exclusively better than the others. For this reason, I’ve narrowed it down to my top three. In no particular order:

Slumdog Millionaire

There are few movies that make me feel like clapping as the credits roll in the theatre. This was one of those movies. Deals with some very difficult and important topics, but leaves you smiling at the end. Brilliant soundtrack.

Doubt

Fascinating, well-told, thought-provoking story. This movie doesn’t give you answers, but rather, leaves you with the same questions and doubts that the main characters will struggle with for the rest of their lives. It’s so well done that I felt completely differently about the priest’s guilt the second time I watched it than I had the first. This movie is also very well acted—another phenomenal performance from Meryl Streep.

500 Days of Summer

It’s about time that we have a story of boy meets girl that is not a love story and actually embraces the contrast between harsh reality and expectations when it comes to relationships.
500 Days of Summer rejects the traditional love-story formula and isn’t afriad to make the statement that sometimes, what looks alot like love, isn’t. While making the point that sometimes, love sucks, the film also suggests that we learn from relationships and completely rejecting them is not the answer. Beautiful, creative, and artistic, this was one of those movies I couldn’t wait to see again after leaving the theater.

Worst Movie of 2009

I’m completely ashamed to even admit that I saw this, but in the spirit of honesty:

Land of the Lost

I watched this by myself at the $3 theatre when I had a few hours to kill and nothing else was showing. Though it looked dumb in the previews I thought that Will Ferrell may be able to partially redeem a ridiculous story line by bringing in at least one or two moments of brief comedy. My faith in him was far too great. Not only did I not laugh at all, but I lost two hours of valuable life that would have, I’m sure, been better spent trying to walk across a bed of hot coals. At least then my pain would have given me some sort of bragging rights.

Things I fell in love with in 2009

Running

I can’t believe this is actually on the list. I started running almost on a whim and really didn’t think it would last. But running is addictive, and eight months later I’m still lacing up my tennis shoes and hitting the streets of Fircrest every morning that I have free. It just goes to show that sometimes the things we reject out of fear are those that we would most love.

Portland

One of the highlights of my year was a weekend trip to Portland, Oregon. I fell in love with this city almost instantly. Their public transportation system alone is enough to make me want to live there, and if that’s not enough, they also have a beautiful waterfront, the lively Saturday market, Stumptown coffee almost everywhere you go, and a huge variety of original and artistic restaurants and stores. Literally everyday I think about returning to Portland to eat omelets at Mother’s Bistro and read at Powell’s Books.

The most important thing I learned in 2009

Though for me, this past year was full of uncertainty, God blessed me in ways I never would have dreamed, and thanks to his constant presence, the feelings of instability that accompany change never completely overwhelmed me. Even when I failed to acknowledge God or neglected to seek his advice, he was faithful, and I honestly believe that he saved me from my own stupidity.

When 2009 began I was working 12-hour days, rushing from a temp job at World Vision to a part-time job at the Federal Way Curves. It was hectic and crazy and I lacked time for God or a Christian community. Come March, I was down to just the job at Curves, and without clear direction for the future, I felt apathetic and confused. Then, just as I began to wonder what God was doing, I was offered full-time temp work at World Vision. What was originally a two-month assignment continues to be extended. I may not know where I’ll be in a few months—or whether or not I’ll have work—but through his daily provision God continues to remind me that my direction for the future comes not from having control over my circumstances but from trusting that God knows what’s next. This means acknowledging that I don’t have control and I can’t do this thing called life on my own.

And that brings me to the most important thing I learned this year. I struggle with wanting control, and I like to think of myself as strong enough to not need help. But when I look back at this last year, I can see clearly that the areas in which I relied on myself are the ones I am most dissatisfied with. Like my work situation, I’d be better off trusting God with these things than trying to control them. And I’d be better off seeking help than trying to go it alone. This year, God blessed me with a strong Christian community that constantly serves to remind me of my need for others; contrary to my attempts, the Christian life cannot be lived in isolation. All that said, I think the primary thing that I learned in 2009—or more accurately, am continuing to learn from 2009—is the fact that I must start each day at the foot of the cross. This position forces me to admit that I cannot do it alone and allows me to accept the grace of God that covers the times that I have tried. Once I have given up control, I have freedom to live as God intended.

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Written by liferenewed

January 3, 2010 at 8:39 pm

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  1. […] year ago, when I reflected on 2009, I talked about uncertainty, my desire for control, and the need to trust God with the details of […]


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