1 Jan

You may know it as a year of Nostradamus predictions. You may know it as the end of the Mayan calendar. You may know it as the year referred to in certain Gnostic texts. You may think it corresponds with some prophetic biblical text. You may know it as the year more referenced in works of science fiction than any other year.

You may know it as a leap year. You may know it as the first time Disney World will be open for 24 consecutive hours. You may know it as 5772–5773 in the Jewish calendar (or 7520–7521 in the Byzantine calendar, 2556 in the Buddhist calendar, or 1434 in the Islamic calendar). You may believe it to be successful as the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol to help stop Global Warming. Or, you may be excited about the forthcoming elections in the United States.

Now that it is here, this year will write its own imprint on our lives. This year will be the year of many happy moments, which hopefully we have already begun to celebrate. It will also be the year of some sad things, which I hope is minimized in your case. This will be a year where the anniversary of many events, good and bad, is celebrated in a huge way. And since this year is largely a tabula rasa, I hope you make it extraordinary.

However, this year is one of large reflection for me. At one point in my life, I felt the need to announce to everyone that I would run for political office in the year 2012. In fact, I felt such a need to tell everyone that I based an email address, many of my decisions, and quite a bit of my dialog with the feeling that this would happen. I guess I felt the need to treat all those things that were not as though they were. But I believe there was an inherent flaw in my system. I made this decision and went bull-headedly towards it without regard for if that was something I should do.

I couldn’t understand why when I tried to get stuff together in 2000, 2002, and 2004, I could not seem to get things to work. Then it hit me. As I was studying Acts 16, I realized that when God appointed Timothy to work with Paul, it was not some pie-in-the-sky hope that one day Timothy would grow into the position. Paul immediately started working with Timothy and the team immediately came to be what God intended it. Now I do not believe this is the major point of Acts (or even just chapter 16), but it did strike me. If God is clearly putting impediments in my way, could it be that it is just my own ego. If God wanted me to serve in this capacity, He would open up the opportunity to make it occur right away.

Now, I think politics are very important. I think people should study and care more than they probably do. I think that, as a whole, we value too little the things that affect us. On the other hand, God forbid that I value anything as more important in my life than the gospel. And if something is such that I am gaining identity from it, and I think that my life is incomplete until it happens, then I need to come to the realization that politics were over-valued in my life. Something is out of whack when I am more interested in trying to convert someone to my political persuasion than my possession of the ultimate gift of Salvation.

I care very much about American politics, but God is still bringing balance to my life. And the flipping of the calendar to the year 2012 is a great testament to that. There was a time in my life where my ego of what I predicted and announced would have been enough for me to throw away all logic to make sure that I ran for some office this year. I would have felt a twinge of the need to do what I had previously considered important. And yet, now that the calendar has flipped to 2012 and others are asking me about my intentions to run for some office this year, I feel more convinced than ever that this is clearly not what God has in store for me.

I have been challenged to read the Bible in a year by my friend, Commissary. I have been challenged by my friend, Michael Phillips, who despite being someone who seemingly always had the answers, was ready to change his theology when presented with what he considered persuasive, to never believe I have it all figured out. I was challenged by my preacher, Curt Heffelfinger, to be more focused on my prayer life. Three challenges this year already that I felt needed to be undertaken. Yet, my prayer for politics continues to be only that God would grant us leaders better than we deserve; that we would take I Peter 2:13, 17, and 19 to heart; that I would pass over the things that my selfish ego wants and go straight to the things to which God has called me.

And if 2012 is indeed the end of the world as we know it, I can rest securely in the fact that God will hold me in perfect peace. I could not be more confident that God is continuing to work in me. It is possible that one day I may, in fact, run for office. It is possible that as a child I was correct in my assertion. But whether or not that becomes true, I know that as for my life today, God is leading me in a different direction, and I am going to enjoy following Him!


4 Responses to “2012”

  1. eddiepoole January 2, 2012 at 6:34 am #

    Matt, I think this shows that you are maturing in your walk with God. You are following His leading. I know that if and when He leads you to run for office you will do it. Following Jesus means setting aside our will for His will. Many say they "believe" in Jesus but aren't really a "follower." Keep following! Great post!

  2. David W. January 4, 2012 at 1:21 am #

    I’m saddened that you’re not running for office! I remember at you wedding there were signs that said “West for President, 2012”…or something like that! Although, we can’t always see the whole picture, so it’s good your trusting in God to lead you down the path He wants you to take.

  3. karin January 5, 2012 at 3:16 am #

    Excellent post. If you ever do decide to run for office, let me know. I'll hit the campaign trail.

  4. Jenni March 14, 2012 at 4:27 am #

    okay, first… Did you do a bunch of googling to write your second paragraph, or did you already know all of that stuff? And second, I was just talking the other day to Jay bout how much I admire you for your maturity in how you look at yourself and politics.

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