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Episode 139: Lessons from the Year

Dec 30, 2021
April Price Coaching
Episode 139: Lessons from the Year
23:47
 

Episode Summary

I like to take this time of the year, between the year past and the year ahead, to pause and reflect on what I’ve learned and what I’m committing to learning next year.

I hope this episode inspires you to do the same. I hope you’ll look back and find all the things there are to be proud of. Your brain won’t want to, but I hope you look back and see the abundance of this year. Because even though your brain won’t want to, it’s essential to direct your mind purposefully to it.

Of all the things I’ve learned this year, I think probably the most important is this…I’m not here for the results. I’m not here to get it right, even. I’m here for the growth.

As you think about what you want to create next year, I want you to concentrate less on “getting it right this time” and more on becoming along the way. This is exactly what it means to be a child of God and be given a chance to experience eternal growth. There is no end to it - and wherever you are is not wrong.

And so since there’s no place where we finish, instead of needing to finish to validate yourself, we find so much more joy and peace in the journey.

Episode Transcript

Dear Loved Ones,

In April of this year, David got a new assignment at work. Instead of leading the hospitals he loves, he was asked to head up a brand-new position over all the ambulatory, outpatient services and clinical service lines in the health system. It was a change that defined our whole year and, to tell the truth, it broke David’s heart.
Overnight his workload and work hours increased exponentially while his resources decreased to almost nothing. Not only did he have to construct the strategies and teams he needed from scratch, he had to do it while deeply mourning the loss of a position he cherished. He admitted to me that he cried every morning on his way to work and every night when he arrived home, long after dark, his eyes were red-rimmed and his distress was obvious.
When I talked to Olivia and Caleb away at school or Savannah on her mission, they would ask, “How’s Dad?” “Not good,” I told them honestly. David himself told me the same thing on several occasions, “I’m not doing well.”
Not only that, but David did all of this while continuing to serve as the bishop in our ward—doing his best to minister and carry and alleviate the burdens and sorrows and heartaches of hundreds of other people, even as his own world was caving in. His grief was real, and the depth of his heartbreak was exceeded only by a gripping anxiety that he couldn’t possibly do all that had been asked of him.
All I could do was watch. Watch as he mourned. Watch as he wrestled with a job he didn’t want to do. Watch as he shouldered an enormous burden for the rest of us, to provide and protect, even as he was falling apart. One night, my heart breaking for him, I insisted that he didn’t have to do any of it. He told me, “I feel God asking me to. I feel him asking me to submit.”
There are so many untold stories in the Christmas story, this story that we tell over and over, year after year. And this year, I have been more aware than ever before of the fathers in the story—the human one and the heavenly one—and the difficult, undesirable jobs they were given, their willingness to submit to them, and the countless secret tears they must have shed to do it.
First, Joseph. He accepted a job he didn’t ask for, a job full of shame and judgment and ridicule which was only offset by the promise of constant fear, very real danger, and a high chance of failure. With no money and no resources, armed with only his own anxiety and his own inadequacy against all the powers of darkness, it must have felt impossible to keep this one child safe in a world determined to destroy him. And Joseph did all of this, knowing that despite his best efforts, one day this boy he loved would willingly give up the life that he had had worked so hard to preserve and walk as a lamb to the slaughter into a Garden and onto a cross to answer the ends of a law he never broke. How Joseph must have wanted to resist and revolt and beg for another way when he considered what all his careful work was leading to.
And then there is the other Father, the heavenly one. I admit that until this year, I hadn’t given his difficulty and grief much thought. It was his plan after all. He was the one requiring the sacrifice. But now I see that understanding the necessity of what had to be done, did not alleviate the awfulness of the way. And so this Father, with own his heart tearing apart, did the job he didn’t want to do either, as he listened to his Only Begotten Son’s desperate cries for help echoing out of the dark garden, Abba, please and did not intervene. Even when “all things were possible unto him.” It turns out that after everything he asked his sons to submit, his own submission was required as well.
The scriptures say that Christ was surprised by what was required. Sore amazed, it says. Exceedingly sorrowful unto death, it says. But I wonder if it surprised his Father even more—the shocking torment that came from witnessing this perfect son’s sore amazement and the difficulty of choosing to do nothing but watch. In the wrenching heartbreak of that moment, in the agony of his own submission, without a ram in the thicket, we learn the truth about our Father’s love.

God’s love doesn’t exist because of the absence of grief. The evidence of his love exists in the abundance of it. It’s not that he was so removed from pain that choosing love was easy. It’s that he was so well-acquainted with grief and simultaneously so willing to submit to it, that love could prevail, that salvation could be purchased, that his purposes for us could be fulfilled.
Glory to God.
Glory to God.
This is the phrase I keep repeating to myself again and again. Glory to God. Glory to the Son who gave everything he had to become the Father of our salvation. And glory to his Father, who because of his perfect love for us, submitted everything he had as well. This Christmas season and always we worship the Son of God, the babe of Bethlehem and the King of Kings, whose humble, holy submission saved each one of us. And this year, we remember and worship with renewed awe, the Father of us all, whose plan of goodness and mercy was only made possible by his own willingness and ability to suffer and submit to a grief too large to imagine. Glory, glory, glory to our God, whose love is so deep and so fierce and so everlasting that nothing—nothing—can ever separate us from it.

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