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by Trever Carter

Happy New Year!

Come the arrival of a new year, I have found it fruitful to sit down and reflect on the year past, focus on the present and look forward to the year ahead. This year, however, I decided to delay a bit.  Be it scheduling, busyness or lack of focus, I found a way to avoid sitting down to write my Year in Review and my Year Ahead. The real reason is still in an unknown void: perhaps I didn’t want to look back, was apprehensive about looking at the now and surely skeptical about looking at the future. I buckled down and did it, eventually, and found myself in one of the most fruitful times I have had with the Lord in quite some time.

For me, the past year has been a roller coaster. That analogy, while cliché, very accurately epitomizes how I have felt in all aspects of my life: school, family, friends and faith … all of it.  Starting the year off, I dealt with a lot of internalized relational struggles, some that I still deal with to this day. As the months moved on, a friend of mine got very sick, there was a series of other pitfalls, yet all the while I found great comfort and solace in God and praised Him for His goodness.

The summer rolled around, and friendships blossomed and life was great. Yet as it drew to a close, I could feel Satan attempting to pull me away from the God that I loved.  I began to live for my flesh, and drove wedges in some of the most important relationships in my life.

As school began, it drove me insane with frustration as things became really challenging for me. My brother left for college and my mom became really ill toward the end of September, resulting in eight days of hospitalization.  Due to that, I was forced to fulfill some big responsibilities as my dad had to continue to work and I tried to juggle school, my little brother and daily visits to my mom.  Her sickness continued and resulted in another fou- day hospitalization just recently.  All the while, I’ve put God to the back burner and have only really called on Him out of frustration.  Granted, I had great weeks and months with God all throughout 2013, but the past four months especially have been categorized by a lot of emptiness and regret as I lived for myself and not for Him.

So, I sat down in prayer and asked first for forgiveness for not living as an example of Jesus, for merely skating through the year and just waiting to catch a break. Pastor Josh spoke a few weeks ago and mentioned not erasing anything, and just learning from it, and that really resonated with me. I asked for realignment and began to pray about my word for 2014, and this is the one I came up with: live.

My life when living for Christ with all I can is categorized by joy and peace, all the fruits of the spirit. Yet when I live for myself, I often times feel as I have the past four months… empty.

John 10:10 states, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

I am not setting lengthy resolutions or unattainable goals this year. I simply wish to live in a matter that Jesus would be proud of; I wish to live and have life to the full, something no worldly thing could give me.

TrevernewheadshotTrever Carter is a junior at Grayslake North High School. He enjoys running, playing lacrosse, and photography. He also likes to write, serve with the church, and spend time with his friends.

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