So, with less than a week til 2015, it’s getting to that time when we look back over the highs and lows of the year that’s ending, and start planning those resolutions.
On the one hand, I think the whole New Years resolutions thing is a bit ridiculous because if you really wanted to change something you could do it on any day of the year, and so often New Years resolutions barely make it past the first week in January! but I also think it can be just the kick start some people need to gain the courage and enthusiasm to try something new/change something/start something etc.
I have several ideas of resolutions for 2015. Some are typical things like not eating so much crap and maybe doing a little more exercise to try and counteract the stomach I’m developing. Others are more personal and challenging about my character, personality or faith.
One of the things I want to work on more is confidence. I’ve actually been told on several occasions lately that I seem a lot more confident than I used to, and I can see that a little. But on so many occasions shyness, awkwardness and lack of self-confidence still cripples me. I try so hard not too, but I care what other people think. I hate standing out from the crowd, or thinking other people are looking at me or judging me. I’m a firm believer in ‘being who you are’ and have been known to encourage friends on many occasions to ‘just be yourself’, but I’m so bad at doing it myself. I can be painfully self-conscious and according to one of my friends, I often adopt a ‘turtle-like’ position if I’m nervous or uncomfortable (I raise my shoulders and become really tense..almost like I’m a turtle trying to retract my head into my shell so I can hide), which is strangely accurate lol! I know it’s part of who I am, but I’d still like the try and counterbalance it a little better!
Faith wise, I’m confused. Very confused. If you’ve read any previous posts then you’ll know I am a doubter. I question things allllllll the time and my faith, or often lack of it, is something which gets questioned the most. And the past couple of weeks have caused it to be questioned maybe more than normal. There have been so many terrible incidents on the news – Sydney siege, Pakistan school shooting, vanishing aeroplanes, constant atrocities in various countries in the Middle East we’re so used to hearing about its almost mundane, and closer to home the tragic accident in George Square in Glasgow this week. Why do these things happen?
The siege and the shooting I can just about comprehend people’s responses – God gave us free will and there’s the devil who tries to poison us or whatever, and so one person or a group of people cause these incidents to happen. But things like the George square tragedy, or the disappearing planes, or natural disasters – what’s the ‘everything happens for a reason’ answer behind them? You can’t blame them on an individual. You can work out the science behind an earthquake or tsunami, or the faults that could cause a plane to vanish, but if God’s really up there, supposedly taking care of all of us, why does he let these horrible things happen? Why does He let hundreds of people perish in these disasters? If he’s so omni-benevolent, why doesn’t he prevent them?
It really gets to me when some sort of disaster, natural or otherwise, happens and people who narrowly escaped injury or death say things like ‘someone was looking down on us’ or ‘God was watching over us’ – because to me, that’s essentially like saying, ‘God was choosing to save us and ignore the ones who didn’t survive’ – and I just don’t understand how people can accept that as being plausible or even humane. The whole thing makes no sense to me at all.
Something that really gets me about being a ‘senior soldier’ in the Salvation Army is that there seems to be no room for error or uncertainty. Once you make that commitment, which is in no uncertain terms, huge(!!), that’s it. In my opinion and experience, questioning things isn’t encouraged or allowed, and if anything it feels like it’s discouraged. It feels like once you stick that uniform on you’re supposed to have everything worked out, when really that’s just the first step, or second at the most. Everyone makes mistakes and does things wrong – that’s obvious – but there are so many rules and regulations that if you make one mistake, you have to lie and hide it for fear of being reprimanded like a child, it just feels so silly!
For the record – I’m not saying I’m hiding any earth shattering mistakes (touch wood haha) – it’s just the way it seems to me to be.
And being a natural doubter, not to mention excessively confused about a great deal of God-related stuff, this makes me struggle even more. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not just having a moan about the army (even if I have been known to do that on many an occasion..) I’m just being, honest I guess. And that’s something I think I need to do more of, in relation to my faith. It’s scary and what I have to say might not please everybody, because basically, I question all our major beliefs and belief systems on pretty much a daily basis, but I’m never going to develop it any further, in either direction, if I don’t speak up a bit. I think anyway.
Which I guess relates back to the confidence thing – I need to have the confidence to be honest about how I really feel faith-wise rather than just turning up on a Sunday and pretending everything’s fine if I’m really sitting there struggling.
So essentially, 2015 is going to be all about working on confidence.
“confidence is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets”