Is Next Year Going To Be Better?

This is a question that you’ve been probably wondering. Even if you don’t want to expect anything next year, I’m sure there’s something deep inside of you that makes you hope. Besides, who wants to have a bad year anyway? Sometimes we don’t even want to expect anything so that we won’t get disappointed in the end. Among life’s numerous lessons to us is the fact that most of the time, we don’t get what we want. That isn’t really a depressing fact, it’s just… a fact. In the course of one year, a lot of things can happen. It won’t be always sunshine and rainbows and you can be sure it won’t be bad all the time. It’s just a matter of when these things will happen. It’s like one of those Keeping up with the Kardashians episodes wherein you’re not exactly sure what’s going to happen but there’s a 99.9% chance that Kim will bitch around. (Did I just use a KWTK analogy? And did I just an acronym of the show? Oh yes I did!)

In my research (basically pestering other people), I think a number of individuals can be categorized into the following subsets with regards to their approach to the following year:

a)   “2014 will absolutely be better! I know it! I’m filled with so much hope and excitement! Bring it on!”

b)   “I don’t really care. I’m just a go-with-the-flow type of person. Whatever happens, happens.”

c)    “I don’t want to expect anymore. If you don’t expect anything, you won’t get disappointed that much.”

d)   “Okay, I’m now X years old. I’m mature. I’m an adult. I don’t want to get my hopes up too high or too low either. I’m just going try to do my best and see how it goes. It’s just another year for crying out loud.”

e)   “Wait, it’s New Year’s already? I didn’t get the memo! Time flies so fast!”

These are logical, reasonable, and even normal, for anyone. I’ve been pondering this question on how do we become assured that the following year will be better than the last. Is it the fact that last year sucked so bad that the next one couldn’t be any worse? Or is it the other way around wherein 2013 was so good to be true that you’re afraid that 2014 will be the exact opposite? Do we go with the psychologist Francis Galton and factor in here the whole “nature vs nurture” thing? Do you solely rely on your own abilities on how you can make next year better or will fate play a much bigger role? We not only don’t know what’s going to happen around us, but we also aren’t sure on how we’ll react when certain things happen.

Ergo I came up with a little theory on a person’s character and the bricks that life throw at you:

If you are younger than 22 years old: Certain situations help you build your character

If you are older than 22 years old: Certain situations reveal your character

See the difference? When you get old enough, things that life throw at you will show who you really are. You’ll either be a Kobe Bryant who’ll persevere through victory and especially in defeat or be a Lamar Odom and cover yourself up with defense mechanisms and drugs that your wife Khloe will leave you and you won’t be on a reality show in the next hundred years. (Yes, I just placed an NBA analogy together with a Kardashian. Someone shoot me now.)

That being said, by the time you’re an adult, circumstances make you realize the different sides of your personality. So for next year, I’m about to try something different. Well actually, this isn’t necessarily new; I just didn’t have the follow through to have the mind set for the entire year in the past. I’m not sure how to explain it. I even think it falls under one of the aforementioned categories of people above. In any case, I’d like to share a song here by Kendall Payne. Kendall is a Christian singer but her songs are actually used in the hit TV series Grey’s Anatomy. Take a close look on the words of the song. I actually came across this when she sang for Cornerstone Church in California. If you want to listen to the song, you can just search it on YouTube. (Before she sang, Kendall shared a story about Mother Teresa, inspiring me to write my blog entry, “Are You Sure Where You’re Going?”)

 Pray by Kendall Payne

I will pray for you now, for you have been my faithful friends
While the road we walk is difficult indeed
I couldn’t not ask for more than what you’ve already been
Only that you would say these prayers for me

May your heart break enough that compassion enters in
May your strength all be spent upon the weak
All the castles and crowns you build and place upon your head
May they all fall, come crashing down around your feet
May you find every step to be harder than the last
So your character grows greater each stride
May your company be of human insignificance
May your weakness be your only source of pride

What you do unto others may it all be done to you
May you meet the One who made us
And see Him smile when life is through

May your blessings be many but not what you hoped they’d be
And when you look upon the broken
May mercy show you what you could not see
May you never be sure of any plans you desire
But you’d learn to trust the plan He has for you
May your passions be tried and tested in the holy fire
May you fight with all your life for what is true

I have prayed for you now all my dear and faithful friends
But what I wish is more than I could ever speak
As the way wanders on I’ll long to see you once again
Until then, would you pray these prayers for me?
Oh, that you would pray for me

Take a second and read the lyrics again.

I know right? There’s so much power and truth in the entire song. So, who cares if next year will be better or not? There’s a temptation that when we pray for ourselves or even for others is that we can hinder the things that God wants to experience for us. You understand what I mean right? I strongly believe that this will probably the hardest (and scariest) prayer you will ever pray. I mean, if you think about it, who asks for this stuff? I hope my heart breaks enough so that compassion enters in or may my blessings be many but not what I hoped they’d be? I’m not saying that you should pray that you’ll go broke or anything like that. Instead of just praying for circumstances to change, ask God to have a change of heart. It’s difficult, but I’m sure it’ll build character. It’s seems impossible, but of all the things you’ve been through, doesn’t this sound more hopeful than anything else? It’s uncommon, but in a world wherein everybody goes for something popular, this may be the most reasonable thing one can do. It sounds weird if you pray it, but I’m sure God will listen.

In the coming year, let whatever it is that suppose to happen, happen. Fall in love or fall out of love. Stay in your job or find another one. Accomplish your New Year’s resolution or fail. Get married and settle down or stay single. Forgive those who’ve wronged you or cower in hurt. Go on an adventure or realize that you’re already in an adventure now. They say life’s a journey, well because it’s true! Maybe you’re not over with a break up you had this year and frankly next year you might be still doing the same thing in trying to get over that someone. Maybe it’s a two-year journey not one. You have to welcome these things with open arms. But not in an arrogant way wherein you say “Bring it on 2014!” Oh yeah, what if 2014 strikes back and you’re not ready? As Rocky Balboa said, “it’s not how hard you hit; it’s how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”

Hopefully I’ll keep this attitude for the rest of the year. As I pray for myself, I pray for these things for you too. Is next year going to be better? Let’s check up on each other as the year progresses. Happy New Year everyone!

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