As what happens at the close of every year, we begin to look back on the 365 days we lived and we reflect on what that year held.
We think about the highs, the lows, the mountains, and the valleys. And in more recent years, our social media accounts, which begin to reflect those things as well. Our Facebook accounts pull up memories from three years prior. Our Instagram show us our “top nine” photos of the year. Spotify tells us our most streamed genres, artists, and songs.
I personally enjoy seeing these year-end round-ups; my Instagram top nine included photos of my 21st birthday, my transformation photo after losing thirty pounds, and photos when my best friend from Boston came to visit me after the tragic loss of twelve lives in our hometown. It truly showed some wonderful mountains and some really low and dark valleys, but in the end, it reminded me of some wonderful milestones that 2018 held for me and made me excited for what is to come in 2019.
My Spotify account reflected a similar round-up: a mix of songs that got me through some serious waves of grief, a tough break up, and a multitude of other events of 2018.
I was not surprised to see my top song of 2018 was “You Say” by Lauren Daigle.
If you haven’t heard this song, drop everything right now and listen to it. I discovered this song in August when I began my senior year of college, a year that I truly did not think I would make it to, after the hardships that 2017 and 2018 brought to me and my family. As I went through the first semester of my senior year, I was constantly bombarded with questions, doubts, and anxieties about things in daily life, things from the past, and the unknown of the future.
I would see judgment across the faces of many as I told them I left my job in Georgia to go home for the summer. I would feel an ache in my heart when I saw my ex-boyfriend move on quickly from a breakup that left me feeling broken and unworthy. I felt anxiety take over my mind when I would hear of friends applying for grad school, knowing that I most likely would not have the option to do so because of my grades.
My brain was filled with consistent thoughts and voices that told me that I wasn’t good enough, that I would never measure up to the expectations that my family had of me, that I would never be able to be loved again, and that I was too weak to continue fighting in this life.
When it all became too much, I would get in my car and I would just drive. I drove for miles, for hours, and I just let the road take the anxieties and the thoughts away. I listened to music to calm the nerves and to ease my mind, and one day, “You Say” came on shuffle and it all changed.
What I Needed
It was three in the morning in the middle of a stressful week, in the middle of an overwhelming wave of grief and homesickness for a home that is gone forever. The lyrics pierced my ears and I suddenly felt tears stream down my cheeks.
I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up
Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?
Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know
Before I knew it, I was stopped in the middle of an empty street with my hands over my face, letting out some of the heaviest sobs I had in a long time, but with the most overwhelming sense of relief on my heart. And I as I let these sobs out, I began to sing along:
You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
You say I am held when I have fallen short
And when I don’t belong, oh You say I am Yours
And I believe, oh I believe, what You say of me
It was the thing that I needed to hear the most in that moment. It was the thing that I needed to hear come out of my own mouth and in my own voice. It was exactly what I needed to name in that exact space to remind myself: in Him I find my worth and in Him I find my identity, not in my grades, in my relationships, in what others think or say of me; it only matters what He says of me.
Jeremiah 29:11 reads, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
There are moments when I look back on the events 2018 and I do not understand why certain events had to take place or why my path has led me here, but I know in my heart that this is part of His plan for me and that it is a wonderful plan, no matter how painful it may be in moments.
2019 is a new year, a new chapter, and a new start in my journey. I am leaving so much grief, heartbreak, and hurt in 2018 and I am hopeful that 2019 will be full of love, hope, and healing. And I know that when December 31, 2019 creeps closer and closer, I anticipating the same Instagram top nine posts and Facebook memories that I look forward to at the close of each year. I hope it will include photos of my college graduation, of my best friend’s engagement party, and maybe some photos of the process of rebuilding our home.
But in the end, I hope that in 2019, I will have the words of Lauren Daigle running through my mind as I begin a new chapter of my life that in Jesus I find my worth, and that in Him I find my identity.
Happy New Year and Happy 2019.