Dear friends,

Happy 2016 and welcome to the new website! (You might want to check out the About page right about now.) Before we get any further, I’m going to ask you to watch JJ Heller’s whimsical new video for her fabulous song, “This Year.” You’ll be glad you did.

Train our eyes to find the light. That’s good stuff.

I know I’m not alone in thinking this, so I’ll confess that much of 2015 felt like hell. Instead of training my eyes to find the light, I fell prey again and again into anxiety-ridden thought cycles that devoured. Up went the white flag, as the more I thought about what life used to look like, the more embittered I grew about what the future might hold. I finally had to confess to myself these last few months that something had stolen my joy. This was not okay.

But the good news is I’m not willing to accept that fate for 2016, so there is a new prayer that’s inadvertently become the theme of my heart:  Restore to me the joy of your salvation. 

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Trails behind the Sunset Summit apartments.

God’s joy has never been far from me before — even in the dark, gnarly times. So why now? Thinking about it, part of it may be due to environment. There are four main things that feed and renew my soul like nothing else: sunlight, movement, water, and music. Because of a heightened need for pain management this past year, these things have grown increasingly precious. So it might be a lack of feeding my soul the right kind of nourishment it needs to feel alive. More than that, though, I think is the motif of training our eyes to find the light. If I’m honest with myself, this is where it’s hardest to glorify the Lord, especially when our real weaknesses show and we feel our lack of control; it’s here that the darkness likes to shout, I win!, because how can we find our way out when we can’t even control our circumstances?

The Auburn canyon

And that’s where truth waltzes in and declares that, yes silly kid, you can control some things — just maybe not the things you want. For example, you can control that vortex of nihilistic thoughts, as well as your will to live. You can train your eyes to find the light because, apparently, it’s something that can always be found. This new year, I don’t want to get caught playing with old ways of thinking. Those thoughts are stale, like a shirt you’ve worn three days in a row because you’re too dang lazy to put on a new one. Instead, I want my thinking to be founded on trust that the Light can indeed be found. Restore to me the joy of your salvation.

Backwoods roads around El Dorado Center campus

“You made us for yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” –Augustine

Backwoods roads around El Dorado Center campus

Thanks for reading, guys. I’m excited to start a new year with you of healthy habits and creative projects. Here’s to the next 365 days!

 

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Thanks for reading. I would love to connect with you in other places, such as Instagram @oh_hey_Bailz, LinkedIn Bailey Gillespie, Facebook Bailey Gillespie, Writer, Twitter @BailzGillespie, or Medium.