At the end of 2017, I read through all my journal entries for the year. This has become habitual, something important for me to do at the end of every year. It gives me a chance to review the events that impacted me, the events I freaked out about that ended up being no big deal, and the places where God showed Himself faithful in answered prayers.
As I finished this time, I prayed, describing to the Lord the way I saw 2017. The way I perceived certain events and how I thought they had shaped me. Then I went a step farther and asked God to contrast how He saw the year versus how I saw it. It was a simple request, something like “Jesus, I know how 2017 went for me. I know what I see. What do you see?” I expected a simple answer. What I got was more complicated and profound. He began with a challenge: “Andy, if I do that, it won’t look like what you think it will…”
I felt the need to grab a pen and paper, so I did. It was like He was whispering, “Here’s what I see. Some things we see the same and some things we see differently. Sometimes we see the same thing but give it different titles.” As I started to process what God was highlighting in my heart, I decided to write it all out in essay form. I started wrapping words around the impressions I was feeling, and the following lines developed. It’s always a little odd for me to attempt to write things from God’s perspective, but I really felt that my question needed to be addressed this way. It’s unusual for me to share something this personal in a public forum, but I needed this. And I’m sharing it because maybe you need it to.
You see endings. I see beginnings.
You see rubble. I see raw material.
You see ball caps. I see crowns.
You see edges you could fall off. I see horizons that only appear to be endings until you get close enough.
You see moments of what you would call seclusion or loneliness. I see you learning the value of solitude. I see a shepherd boy becoming king in the fields long before he had a palace.
You see your sand castles taken down by the waves. I see the water we walked on together.
You see exposure and vulnerability. I see honesty that shatters the isolation of those around you.
You see sacrificed sleep. I see My favorite moments.
You see yourself stuttering and clearing your throat. I see a leader learning what his voice sounds like.
You see “I guess I can.” I see “I always knew you could.”
You see yourself discovering and learning new things. I see you uncovering what was there all along. What I put there at the beginning.
You see yourself becoming a more mature person. I see you becoming the real you.
You see yourself disrupting the quiet and regretting those comments. I see you finally speaking up.
You see yourself having an opinion. I see you trusting yourself.
You see yourself ignoring certain people. I see you refusing to listen to the voice of a stranger.
You see yourself as a work in progress with small moments of forward movement along the way. I see what I’ve always seen: the finished product, the person you will one day be — the youest you.
You see walls that gave way. I see a vision no longer boxed in.
You see friends. I see sharpeners.
You see someone trying to be his best. I see what happens when we put our bests together.
You rejoice that places of weakness are finally becoming places of strength. I was never worried or rushed.
You see the trouble spots, the limitations and sins. I’m aware of those and we’re dealing with them. But I wish you’d notice how differently you handle them now.
You see progress but bypass the celebration of it. I’ve thrown some parties for you and missed having you there.
You sometimes wonder if I’m even paying attention. That one hurts. If you were a movie, I’d be on the edge of my seat. I’ve watched with rapt attention from day one.
You see promises coming true eventually, but you remind Me that “eventually” feels like forever. I see all things. Don’t mistake my prioritization of the long-term as negligence of the short-term. I know what I’m doing. Learn how to wait well.
You hesitantly concede victories. I am the loudest dad in the stands, cheering on what I’ve been certain of for a long time. Your victories were always loud and sure.
You see someone who at least looks better than he did in 2016. I see someone who looks more like Me.
You see you and all your efforts. I see you… and Me.