There's a story in the Bible about a man named Jacob. He had wronged and been wronged by a number of people throughout his life and it was all finally catching up to him. Eventually, he was left alone where a mysterious man met him and they began to wrestle all night long until the unknown person finally used a disabling move that literally puts Jacob's hip out of joint. Ouch.
Yep, this story sounds a lot like me. I've been wrestling HARD with struggling to transition ever since I got back to NYC; trying to find my footing even before I knew a global pandemic would disrupt our lives and certainly long before I knew I'd have to be canceling Christmas and birthday plans for the second year in a row. And if you asked me a year ago if I thought I'd be in bed fighting a COVID variant at the end of TWENTY TWENTY-ONE, I would have laughed incredulously.
Yet here I am, wrestling. Here I am, out of joint, limping and wondering:
In Jacob's story, the mysterious man gives him a new identity, "Israel", because he "struggled with God and humans and [has] overcome." In this, I see the wrestling as a form of worship; an invitation to let go of the shame that we so often associate with fighting. I see this as grappling with my reality as a confirmation that God is the living Word, active and loving and giving and accepting. God accepts my fight, duels with my discomfort, kindly reminds me that I am not in control and yet celebrates my will to fight by offering me a new identity.
Like Jacob, I lived a life with no real regard for my own limitations until God showed up and graciously offered me a new kind of freedom -- one that comes when we accept our humanness, when we celebrate our fragility, and when we love our limits -- knowing that God is ultimately in control of this great big world and all of our beautiful lives that fill it up uniquely and completely.
So my next year of life will be dedicated to the struggles I'm overcoming and the new limits I am learning to love. Restoration, joy, hope, peace and freedom is my portion. Jesus is my portion.
I will keep wrestling until dawn.
Here's to year 33.