It is always considered to be a wise decision to review and the end of a year certainly would qualify for a time to look back and consider all the events and happenings. 2013 has been a year of many events. Politically there were many moments on a national scale to talk about. For me, instead of looking back at specific events the activity I am reviewing is citizen involvement. There is no substitute for actively involved citizens.
This past year in America we have seen many different groups actively engaging their members to become involved in speaking up about issues. Everything from gun control, health care, privacy issues, to religious rights. I am always amazed at the number of Christians who have opinions — yes, but involvement — no. There is no way to make a difference with just your opinion unless you are sharing your thoughts, vision and direction ideas with someone that is going to run with those opinions and attempt to make a difference by getting involved or lead the conversation.
State issues also have filled the historical timeline of 2013. The biggest single issue in Kentucky has been coal. Some might believe the problem was just created in 2013, but the forefront discussion has just recently finally received the attention from elected officials that has pushed the discussion to a new level. Joshua D. Howard, an attorney who ran unsuccessfully for state representative in the 87th District of Kentucky presented in his campaign the idea that all coal severance dollars should be returned to the counties that produced the revenue to begin with.
That idea was captured by others in the State Legislature in Kentucky and today there is real conversation taking place about changing the formula and returning those dollars. Another Kentucky resident, a private citizens Joe Harris created an event “Hands of Coal” that began in Bell County, and has since been repeated throughout the coal fields of not only Kentucky, but other states too. Getting involvement clearly makes a difference from just these two examples alone.
Locally, cities and counties have been struggling to re-adjust budgets, dealing with deficits and trying to collaborate with others to re-create their approach to employment issues, education and mental health conversations that include poverty, crime, and resources. The biggest creative discussion that have been taking places deal with advancing the local economy through tourism and attractions. This untapped resource remains the second greatest asset with we the people holding the number one spot.
Thinking about this past year, how would you describe your spiritual life? What challenges or issues have you faced? This is another area where I am often surprised by the involvement or lack of involvement by individuals. I often hear people say they want God’s help, or want a relationship but beyond that initial statement, there is no action on their part to take the next step.
As I review 2013 spiritually speaking, I have experienced weddings, funerals, laughter, crying, gained new friends and accepted new roles of responsibility. Each of these has brought about new learning opportunities about what God’s plan is for my life and in these mentioned experiences and others, I have also learned about his Love and how that applies to my life.
One of the ways I have survived 2013 is by establishing what I believe about God. For instance: I know he loves me just as I am. I know that bitter tears are a part of the highway of forgiveness and renewal. I have been reminded that God is still in the business of opening up opportunities and that He wants to use your life experiences to help others find their way. Exposing ones-self is not what anyone wants to do, but this is a part of the spiritual process of healing that is not just a onetime experience, but this will be repeated over and over again.
Growth is never easy. Change is often difficult to embrace. Looking back at this past year might be one that you’d like to forget or that you thought was awesome. Either way, 2014 has arrived and this is a new opportunity.
Contact Tim H. Mills at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter: @THMills.