As the end of the year quickly approaches, I thought it would be fun to look back over the past 12 months and pinpoint some significant experiences, lessons or discoveries that made the year the blessing that it was. I have come up with one thing for each letter of the alphabet (sometimes I had to choose between a few good ideas and other times I got stuck!) Some are quite meaningful while others are just fun.
So, here’s a smörgåsbord of trivia about me that you may or may not find interesting. 😀 This post goes up to the letter H. I’ll share the rest in two subsequent posts.
A – Autodidact: I have been seeing this word more often lately and, as I discussed with my Dad a few weeks ago, it is a great description of most of our family members. I come from a long line of entrepreneurs — that much is obvious. But what we don’t often point out is that most of these entrepreneurs have been self-taught. In my immediate family, none of us went to university (we only did some college or a brief stint in trade school) and yet my parents, my sister and I run our own businesses. So did my paternal grandparents and a few other relatives.
For me, being an autodidact goes beyond doing the reading, research and practice I need to learn a new skill or concept. It’s an irrepressible curiousity to know more about the world around me, about how things work, about how people tick and about what things mean. I know that our brains have a vast capacity to store knowledge and sometimes it bugs me that I still have so much empty space up there. I must fill it!
B – Book and blog writing: This has been a banner year for the amount of writing I’ve done. Besides taking on quite a few new freelance writing assignments, I wrote the manuscript for my fourth book (over 100,000 words) and decided to relaunch my blog (in June). Though I haven’t been able to keep a very consistent schedule for this blog, I’ve been posting more often than I ever had in past attempts to blog.
C – Curator: This ties in well with my “autodidact” comments above. With my love for learning and gathering information comes a relentless urge to organize and share my discoveries and epiphanies. Whether it’s deep, spiritual insights or clever household tips, moving stories or brilliant pieces of music, fun facts or uplifting quotes…I cannot not share! I know there is some debate about the recent trend to overuse the word “curator” but I do think of myself as a curator of sorts. Or at least a librarian. People tend to see me as a resource person and, whether it’s at church or on Facebook, will come to me with all sorts of questions: “Where can I find… How do you… Who was it that… When did… What about… Why… ?” and on and on it goes. I’m not sure what combination of skills and personality traits turned me into a curator but I have to admit it’s a lot of fun (if I can keep up!)
D – Debt-free: I won’t really get into this one but it was a huge relief back in January to pay off the last of some debt I was working on. I can’t stress enough how important it is to deal with debt as soon as possible, even if it means scrimping and saving and letting go of some niceties for a while. Thankfully, I’ve never faced large amounts of debt and I have parents who would never hesitate to help me if it was necessary, but I know that many people are really burdened by debt, sometimes through no fault of their own. I encourage anyone in that position to seek help — even if that just means getting solid advice on debt management to minimize any damaging long-term effects.
E – Eastern Armenian: I feel like I started to learn a new language in 2013, even though I grew up in an Armenian-speaking home. Eastern Armenian (what’s spoken in Armenia and surrounding countries) is quite different from Western Armenian. We’re not talking British vs. American English. Besides the different pronunciations, there is different vocabulary, different spelling and even different grammar (for example, the way verbs are conjugated). It has been challenging but fun, too!
F – Finishing well: I posted about this in July. I have had some shaky starts in my life but God has been teaching me that what’s more important than starting well is finishing well. I was reminded of this again last week when I re-watched one of my favourite winter movies, Last Holiday. In the film, Chef Didier addresses Georgia Byrd, who has been told she has only a few weeks to live and is battling regrets for having spent so many years in a timid, somewhat repressed existence: “The start is not nearly as important as the finish.” When I heard that, I wanted to yell, “Ha! Exactly!” (Click on the link in this paragraph for more on finishing well.)
G – Grey cardigans: Okay, this is kind of embarrassing (and completely trivial) but I noticed a couple of months ago that I have not one, not two, but FIVE grey cardigans. I am not sure how I ended up with this collection but I clearly have a thing for grey, especially when I can wear it and button or zip it up (or in the case of my knee-length angora cardigan, leave it open). The other four are: a charcoal grey woolly hooded zip-up, a charcoal grey beaded piece with a tiny eye-and-hook closure at the collar, a light grey classic cable-knit crew-neck button-down and a light grey crew-neck button-down with a blue floral pattern. Now you know… haha! [Edited on March 28, 2014 — ACK! I just found a sixth one in the guest room closet: a 3/4-sleeve charcoal grey v-neck cardigan. I’m really hopeless.) 😀
H – Hunger (for God): To end this first part of my ABC list, I’m going to share the editorial I wrote last week for my church’s monthly newsletter. I’ll come back in a couple of days to post the next batch of letters. Thanks for reading…and Merry Christmas!
A Hunger Nothing (Else) Satisfies
In December 2012, I experienced a bit of a spiritual crisis that had me flat on my face, so to speak, feeling probably much like Moses did in front of the burning bush (Exodus 3). Like Moses (and like Joshua, Gideon, Peter and others in the Bible), I had a choice to make. Was I going to really surrender my will to God or was I going to continue living my Christian life to suit myself (and try to impress others)?
I didn’t make any new year’s resolutions for 2013 but, beginning on that night that I admitted to God that my way of doing things wasn’t working and I wanted to be more faithful in following Him, my daily prayer became: “Lord, make me hunger for you. Make me want to want You more than anything else.”
My year wasn’t perfect—I made mistakes and faced challenges, just like any other normal person. However, there was definitely a change in my life. Especially on those days that I remembered to make that prayer my first through, my first priority, I had peace and courage that would otherwise be impossible.
C.S. Lewis said: “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself because it is not there.”
This is the lesson God taught me in 2013. Nothing—not even reading my Bible, serving in the church, handing out tracts or helping the poor—can give me joy the way connecting with God can. As David said in Psalm 37:4, only “taking delight in the Lord” can satisfy our heart’s deepest longings.
As I look ahead to 2014, I think I’m going to keep the same goal I made last year. Sure, I have a checklist of things I’d like to accomplish in my ministry, my career, my relationships and in my personal life, but none of those things will matter or bring me joy unless “Hunger for God” is at the top of my list.
Psalm 107:9 tells us that God “satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” That’s a promise we can count on!
In the new year, don’t depend on your job, your marriage, your education or your personal achievements to fulfill you. That’s a hunger God—and nothing else—can satisfy.