Did You Become a Better Person in 2017?

climbNo, I’m not dead.

*big sigh of relief (or disappointment)*

I just stepped away from the blog for a few weeks over the holiday, and honestly, it was nice to escape the pressure. I’m back now, and looking forward to your readership in 2018.

It’s funny…when people ask me how my 2017 went, I’ve found that my usual reaction is to fall back on the typical “oh man it was horrible, toss that one in the bin and bring in 2018!” that we all cynically throw around for a laugh. Or some version of that.

But then I stopped and realized…my 2017 was actually rather terrific.

…is it okay to say that?

It feels disruptive. Some folks had a pretty good year but are still grousing. Others really did have a painful, harrowing year for various reasons. Whatever the case, me actually celebrating the year feels like bursting through people’s walls with all the subtlety of Mr. Kool-Aid. I’m kinda tentative about it.

But I must. Because God was good.

I got to travel to the Czech Republic for a two-week mission on others’ generosity and even witness the nation celebrating the Fourth from an elevation of 35,000 feet.

I went on a long-anticipated overnight backcountry trip with my buddy and conquered a ton of ground.

I witnessed a total solar eclipse.

I successfully entrenched a habit of running regularly.

I experienced enough of God’s generosity to pay back my debts(!). Not that I had nearly the amount that some do, but the freedom is amazing.

I found out that mole isn’t cancerous.

A ton of little gifts, reliefs, and steps towards larger life goals.

But while all of these victories gifts are “from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17), they aren’t really the important question. The only goal that matters is this: Did I become a better person in 2017?

That’s a tough one.

I certainly came to a number of epiphanies in 2017.

I got new revelations of how self-focused I can be, and how it leaks into my conversations.

And new reminders of just how powerful (and hurtful) my words can be.

And how easily I slip into a judgmental attitude towards others.

And how I’m allowing my past to form more of my personal identity than God does.

And how quickly I lose the joy of seeing God come through and slip into “but what about this time?” thinking.

And how seldom I truly live “rooted and established in love” (Eph. 3:17).

Oy.

I am a wreck.

But I suppose diagnosing the problem is a good first step. How wonderful to know that any criticism God does of us (and he is entitled to do as much as he likes) is couched in Ephesians 3:17, in the love enabled through Christ’s sacrifice.

I also appreciate the pattern Christ shows in Revelation 2-3, when he both points out our good deeds and our bad. He affirmed my progress just this last week in a number of ways. I won’t boast about them here, but suffice it to say, it made my week. And inspired me to honor him even more.

All that truly matters against eternity is whether we become more like Christ. Everything else is icing.

What about you? Did you become more like him last year?

16 thoughts on “Did You Become a Better Person in 2017?

  1. Glad to see you resurface Brandon, I missed ya! You’re young, I’m old, yet we’re still experiencing the same realities, strange isn’t it? But not really because the goal that we’re both working towards is far more extensive that we can possibly imagine. We are different from God and as we walk through this life, that which we see and experience only serves to make that reality more clearer, and the longer we walk and see, the more that is revealed. Having Christ live in us and us living in Him is something where you just never stop learning and you never stop seeing new things. The wonder of it all is that He chooses to love us the same at the beginning of our journey and at the end of our journey. Just wanted to say Happy New Year to you and how I look forward to your coming posts! Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent post. I pray that I did become a better person in 2017 I know I grew in Christ Jesus so knowing that there is more of Him and less of me in my life has made me better. Not because I did more but because I submitted to His will for my life. I am so glad you have posted this God bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Brandon, I loved those words declaring 2017 to be “actually rather terrific” – You give God the glory for His blessings and continue to want to grow in Christ – a true testament to the abundant life we have in Christ, and what a loving and awesome Heavenly Father we serve. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, I’m certainly glad that you aren’t dead. 🙂 And I’m glad you had a good 2017 (envious that you got to see the eclipse in totality – I saw it at 90%, totality must have been INCREDIBLE 😍); even happier to hear that you are chasing after Jesus, to be more like Him! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Someone asked me what my favorite thing I did this year was and my response was “I didn’t really do anything. When I think of 2017 I think of refinement.”

    It was the most terrible, but best year. One I won’t forget. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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