That was the word that came to me for 2020. Yes, I’m one of those people that chooses a “word” for the year. I know that the phrase “being born again” is often used within the Christian culture, referring to the moment a person accepts Christ as their Lord and Savior. This is for another time, but currently I am pretty jaded with “Christianese” language. So, how I would like to refer to that same moment is this: when I first encountered Jesus. That moment was my rebirth in the eternal sense. It was the moment my soul met what (or in this case, Whom) it was searching and longing for. Life has never been the same since.
I believe turning 40, for me, is another kind of rebirth. For the last few years, I have been intrigued by the significance of specific numbers in the Bible. For example, the number 7 in the Bible often seems to represent completeness and perfection (or wholeness). The number 40 is usually used to describe a period of testing, trial, or probation. It’s fitting to me, as I feel that I am currently at a crossroads between my first half of life and my second half. At age 40, I feel that the “period of training” (for this particular training) is coming to an end. What I love is that in the Bible, a period of testing was usually followed by a period of restoration, revival or renewal. Hence my word for the year – rebirth.
Majority of the first half of life was spent on building my sandcastle – my cover story. Studying the Enneagram for the last two years greatly helped me to put detailed, descriptive words to my cover story. Don’t worry, I will write more, both about my cover story and the Enneagram…in due time. Back to my sandcastle. At age 33, something unexpected happened. My sandcastle was smashed…completely and irreversibly. I will write more about this later, too. Since then, God has been taking me through an incredibly hard journey in the wilderness. Richard Rohr calls this process “falling upward.” At the beginning, there was no way for me to see that I was falling upward. It only felt like I was falling into a dark, bottomless pit.
There is so, so much to say about the last seven-year process: the shattering, the darkness, the wrestling, the start of restoration, the receiving, the emerging, and the preparation. And now, the rebirth. For now, all I want to say is that because of this upward falling process, I was able to gain a rear-view perspective on my first half of life. I was reborn or “awakened” to the existence of a story that was much larger than my cover story. I was awakened to a clearer view of beauty, goodness, and truth. I now count this view as one of the greatest gifts from God.
I believe I have gained the maturity and the peace I didn’t have before, and I now consider my sandcastle – my cover story – as something that was necessary for my first half of life. Going through my first half, followed by my upward falling, allowed me to uncover and learn the truths I need to carry with me into my second half…which is my true and whole story.
With that, these are the goals I have, not only for this 41st year of life, but for this new decade and beyond.
- Be astonished by the love and presence of Jesus.
- Find beauty and joy in simple, hidden places.
- Pay less attention to Christianese or popular boundary markers.
- Focus on BE-ing, over SEEM-ing, SEEK-ing or PROVE-ing.
- Embrace “non-people” and new people.
- Play, create, rest, and be outside as much as possible.
- Seek adventure (travel and explore new places/experience).
- Seek substance over surface in connection with others.
- Acclimate to the gray world of both/and (mercy and truth) and avoid the dualistic mind of either/or.
- Pursue a life of contemplation and personal reflection.
I believe these goals will greatly help me in my journey to wholeness. My journey of moving beyond the cover story into my whole story.
Can’t wait to share more!