So, Happy New Year! I guess is the best way to start this blog. I spent my last week of 2016 with my nearest and dearest in the Northwest of the UK – the most mild December in years I believe? I started and ended the trip in Southport where my sister and her new husband live, and fit in a trip to the Lake District with an old housemate in the middle.
I think I’m pretty safe in saying that 2016 was a rollercoaster of a year – personally, I celebrated two weddings, went to two funerals, and welcomed my cousin’s baby to the world.
I drove back home yesterday afternoon and listened to my country playlist while trying to reflect on the year. A certain song came on and the lyrics really reached me.
The last few months of 2015 were really rough on me – I had a whole lot of rubbish on my cards as I entered 2016, and I haven’t really dealt with everything that happened. I find it really difficult to talk about, and maybe one day I’ll write about it, but not today. It all kind of changed me, and as far as I’m concerned, 2016 had a big cloud of anxiety and depression that I’m still battling with.
Of course there were good times: being the maid of honour to my sister was an amazing day (a little stressful, and some well-laid plans to deal with my anxiety) and being introduced to my cousin and his wife’s baby was pretty great too.
But there have been really difficult times this year too – I’ve had a lot of difficulty holding on, my grip has slipped and I have fallen face first a lot this year. But while reflecting on it all and listening to Dierks Bentley made me really think about the important things.
You see, I’m quite the fan of Dierks. I love his latest album, Black. But I’m talking about a track from his previous album, a song whose name I’ve used as the title of this blog. I’d like to share the credit of this blog with him – though he’ll never likely see it.
You see, his lyrics talk about the things he holds on to, even though they don’t look like much to you – his truck, his guitar etc. But it’s the lyrics of the chorus that really got me: I hold on to the things I believe in: my faith, your love, our freedom. All the things I count on to keep me going strong. I hold on.
I’ve fallen down from grace many many times this year. I’ve stumbled, and fallen, and struggled to keep picking myself up. But the reality is – that is life. Yeah, something awful happened to me just over a year ago and I’ve been holding on to that, but it’s the wrong thing to be holding on to. I will never, ever, get up again if I keep holding on to it. I need to loosen my grip, let this last year slip away and look forward, onwards and upwards.
I need to hold on instead to those three things Mr Bentley sings about: my faith, your love, our freedom.
My faith: it’s pretty basic what my faith is built on – it’s the gospel. The amazing thing that God did around about 2000ish years ago. He became man in the form of Jesus, and instead of condemning the human race for all the horrible and bad things that we do, He took them all away from us, laid them on Himself and died to take them away from us forever. He saved us, He corrected our relationship with the Father. And He did these things for us for one reason only: He loves us a great big whopping amount.
Your love: not human love (though my feelings for Tom Selleck are pretty strong) but the love I receive from Jesus. Not a second goes by when Jesus doesn’t think that I wasn’t worth the pain and suffering that He endured on the cross. He went through something so horrific because He didn’t want me to. That is some powerful love right there.
Our freedom: because of what Jesus did, we are free. I experience an absolute freedom – I know that I have the promise of eternal life through Him, that I am free from the shackles of a pointless and meaningless existence. I only enjoy this freedom because of His actions and His love and my faith in Him.
So this year, instead of making an empty promise to myself to be healthier, or learn a new skill, or whatever – I just want to remind myself that instead of holding on to something toxic, I should do what Dierks does, and hold on to something so much stronger.
Wishing you all a happy and healthy new year, whatever it brings for you.