I can’t believe that it has been a whole year, to the day, that I started this blog. 57 published posts later, I’m still here, going strong. The power that I have found to express hope, anger and confusion through these words has truly surprised me. And it seems like so much has changed in a year, and yet so much has not changed at all.
I set off with high aspirations, aspirations I needed to encourage me when I first started this venture. Aspirations that included posting every other day, covering all aspects of my life. Aspirations that were completely unrealistic. Throughout the course of this year, I have dabbled with different ways of writing, from sharing my poetry, to diary entries, creative pieces, letters and just prose. I have dabbled with the regularity of posts, from multiple posts a week, to nothing for months, to once a week. Though mostly this irregularity was down to personal circumstance at the time, recently I have enjoyed having a sense of freedom – I am reconciled to myself that it is perfectly OK to write when I need to, and not to fulfil some kind of quota. Indeed, with exams, personal issues, terror and disaster building one on top of the other, I never felt like there was a right time to write, since But I felt nothing.
But in a way, the change from these unrealistic aspirations to a liberty and acceptance of time working to its own agenda reflects a wider change that I feel has gone inside of me over the course of this year. A month ago I described feeling like a completely different person, and that was scary and crazy all at the same time.
Nothing of my personal situation has really changed. I am still just a teenage student working towards exams, living in a modern pressured world. I still have the same fears, I go through similar times of frustration, stress and anger. This time last year I had finished my GCSEs, and was working for my Mum in the City. Today, three days after I finished my A/AS exams, I spent a day working for my Mum in the City. The same commute, the same office, the same tasks to be done. I still show reluctance to do my chores, shamefully maintaining the excuse that taking out the bins is ‘men’s work.’ I mean isn’t that what our own Prime Minister advocates?! I am a hypocritical feminist. But really I’m just your average teen, working hard, present on social media, being grumpy at home. So maybe nothing has changed at all.
But somehow the world seems different. Or rather, my take on the world seems completely different. Am I older, wiser, more worldly aware? Am I beginning to see the world from an adult point of view? Am I finally no longer a child? Well yes, probably. Have I become more confient? Am I finally rebuilding the person I used to be before 2011? Yes, definitely. Is it because I’ve reached a point where my friends, both boys and girls, support me, rather than bring me down? Yes.
But equally, this difference is a spiritual one. It is a connection with the Almighty that has grown and grown. It is an acceptance that my faith is an indestructible part of me that shapes my actions, attitude, and speech. It will forever be me, as I am given life through it. It is an openness to God that lifts the burden of pain, terror, anger, stress and fear. It is a clarity of mind that seeks the light and overcomes darkness, striving for peace both personally, and for the world. It is a channel of communication that is never closed, a burning passion, a God that allows me to cry, and to laugh, to fight, and to be conquered. It is a God that speaks to others through me, whether I consciously recognise it or not. It is a spiritual vocation that is omnipresent.
Even if I may have wanted to this year, I haven’t been able to let go of my God. Because he never once let go of me.
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Isiah 41:10
We’ve gone through so much of my life together this year – from the funny parts, to the angry parts. But the first post I ever wrote was #Believe, a reflection on the Mars® advertising campaign, and the nature of belief. I mentioned my belief in God, the keystone of all belief. Maybe there was something in me right then that knew that this blog would ultimately become a message to the world about my Christian belief.
Belief grows, so strong that it can be scary. Belief can seemingly diminish, be challenged and appear to disappear completely. But this is part of growth- as I said last month, belief is ultimately a journey. Suffice to say I’ve had complete ups and downs over this year – and they’re all documented here. I have had such a rewarding evening reading over some of my past posts, reliving emotions and experiences, and I am so glad that I made the effort to write everything down – I now see from where I have come, and where I hope to go. I am understanding my path to unshakable belief. I am understanding belief from a whole new perspective.
I have changed so much this year. A huge part of that is the support I have received from writing this. So thank you. All of you. So much.
I would like to end this first year by re-asking the questions I was pondering at the end #Believe. In some ways, I am closer to finding the answers. In other ways, I wonder whether my answers will always be on a course of change, as my belief grows and develops over the next few weeks, months and years.
What does it mean to really believe in something? What do you believe in? What would you like to believe in? What stops you from believing?
And perhaps, one more question that has impacted me greatly this year:
How does it feel to believe?
Keep the answers for yourself to aid your own personal belief. If you would like to share, feel free to comment down below, contact me on Twitter on @christiangirluk, or through the contact page.