New Pain, New Gain

Image by Allison Imagining on Flickr (

Image by Allison Imagining on Flickr (

I’ve been thinking about New Year’s resolutions and what mine might be for this upcoming year. For the past several years, I’ve allowed God to put something on my heart that I would make my resolution. No, I’m not talking about resolutions like “exercise three times a week” or “read my Bible more.” I’m talking about life goals, something that will shape me and challenge me, something that God himself would accomplish through me.

Last year’s resolution was to figure out what I love. That sounds so simple and vague, but God showed up in a big way through my continual discovery of what that meant. I realized that I love working with middle school students more than anything else I’ve ever done. I discovered that I love doing small things behind the scenes rather than working hands-on all the time. I absolutely love writing. I love listening to people’s stories and just catching up with friends over coffee. And most of all, I love family. I love the family I have and I love the thought of having my own someday. These things were mysteries that God brought to the surface, and the clarity I received was greater than I anticipated.

But pain and disappointment were not so far behind.

Despite the great things that were revealed to me, I also learned some tough lessons, too.

I learned that people often fail other people, sometimes by mistake and sometimes just because of human nature’s selfishness. I realized that I care so deeply that I end up being deeply hurt, as well. I discovered that not all people can be trusted with my heart. I found out the hard way that not all prayers are answered. I harbored a new level of cynicism and doubt. I felt real pain.

Out of 2013 came a freeing revelation on what I love to do and also a terrifying realization of what love can do to me.

But it’s another year, my friends.

In 2014, I won’t quit loving. I won’t quit being myself. I won’t quit having a soft, tender heart. I won’t quit being vulnerable. I won’t quit trusting God or people.

My resolution for this year is simply to love fearlessly. I’m ready to challenge the hurt and disappointments I faced with my great capacity to love.

Some people argue that New Year’s resolutions are dumb because people have the chance to change their lives any day of the year if they really wanted to. And it’s true. We do have that capability. But sometimes years are hard and they’re set apart by that. I can’t entirely look back on 2013 with fondness, and I realize that to try to come out of 2013 unscathed would’ve saved me from some hurt but also would’ve prevented me from learning one of the greatest lessons I could possibly learn in this life.

Sometimes people suck, but having a hard heart sucks more.

Out of the not-so-great 2013 emerged a wounded (but not eternally damaged) Jessie. And I can tell you now that 2014 is going to be one great fight.

One comment

  1. whereismycheeze

    Jessie! I love that you like writing. I read a lot of your stories, posts, and rants. There really good. Glad to see you are pressing on with a willingness to be beat up, but never destroyed. I think of a muscle that is stretched and torn only grows stronger. Keep up the good work.

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