I like to imagine that with every passing year comes more growth in my character, faith, and intellect. The thought of being worse than the past year is not too motivating, and luckily, it seems progression has occurred.

Each year I make resolutions–as does most of the world– and although those goals are meant to elicit great change and growth, it seems that they are usually not the very things that spark the changes.

When I look back on the last couple years, I made goals to become closer to God, to be more patient, to live in the moment, and to be more bold. The truth is I couldn’t accomplish any of those goals without context (with the exception of the first: I could grow closer to God in any way at any time and anywhere).

What I have realized is that no matter what my resolutions state, change occurs through the most unexpected contexts and situations. Each year is absolutely unpredictable, and somehow growth still occurs.

I thank God for this. Even though I can attempt to set resolutions for myself, God knows what I really need to work on. He knows what I need to encounter in order to learn, to love, to feel pain, and to grow.

I would say that in 2015 I did grow closer to God at times. I also gained patience and understanding. I learned forgiveness when it was hardest, and I even worked on living in the moment. Yet, it was the circumstances I  overcame that created this growth in my character, faith, and intellect.

I believe that God works through trials. I believe that He is with us in every moment. I believe He lives in our hearts.

I am not sure what I will encounter in 2016, but I have a feeling that I will become a better person because of it. I sense growth. I sense difficulty. I sense a dependency on my Creator.

This isn’t a hunch. It’s based on the last 21 years of my life, and the Bible too.

God didn’t promise that our lives would be easy, but He promised He would be with us through it all (Isaiah 41:10).

Whatever I encounter this year, whatever brings me to joy or tears, I will praise God. I will learn. I will grow. I will be made new.

Happy 2016.