Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Different Kind of NYE

No champagne flutes, no flashy dresses. No glittery glasses or lip-rimmed mustaches. No frittering of friends or flickering of fireworks.

This New Year finds me propped against some overstuffed suitcases in an echoing airport, double-checking my boarding times and calculating taxi fares and subway routes home. Sound depressing? Think again. I'm flying home from a 11-day vacation in England to my home in Paris. I couldn't think of a more appropriate way to ring in 2015.

What a difference a year makes. 

NYE 2013:

NYE 2014:

I think the eyes say it all. I don't even recognize that first girl. She was grasping at her last smile, swallowing down disappointed hopes and insecurities galore. I was on my way to a party. Yet tonight, though I sit alone, I am content. I am happy. I'm back!

While they say you make New Year's resolutions only to break them, I think I set a record this year: "New job. New apartment. Learn French. Get passport. Go somewhere new." I laugh at how small I dreamed one year ago. Our expectations for ourselves can be so low. But sometimes we have just lost the hope that we can really ever change our lives. 

If I was honest with myself, my real resolution for last year was to put joy back in my life. Those who were brave enough to weather that post-grad season with me last year (bless you all) know how much I had changed, how discouragement became my daily uniform. I had lost my joy. I was desperate for change. 

I know some people think it's cheesy or downright naive to think that a night full of silly party hats and a big countdown clock can really make a difference in someone's life. But maybe that cheesiness, that naivety of hope is just what I needed to believe again. This very night one year ago, I felt something click into place, something I hadn't felt in months: the power to change. 

What made the difference? It's simple. It's not easy. I decided. I stopped thinking about my options, and I acted. I set aside feelings, circumstances, and even, to some degree, logic. I was tired of being beaten down by life. Lying down and taking it was no longer an option. 

Sometimes when we are unhappy with our lives, we still do nothing to change it because we fear getting into a worse position than we started in. And I find that so sad, because that fear paralyzes us from experiencing life. Sometimes we also feel we can't move until we are sure of the right decision, terrified to choose wrong (again). But this also is paralyzing, because certainty often becomes less and less certain.

Last year, I was paralyzed by both of these fears. And the only way I can explain my escape was a miraculous and unreasonable dose of courage and hope from God. I began to charge ahead in different directions until I found one that felt right, and I continued in it. I didn't have a plan. I didn't have proof. I just had faith. And I acted.

One year later, I have moved to a different country, learned a new language, begun world travels... (More on my recent England trip to come! I hope, my dear reader, you'll forgive me for not telling about it sooner.) I have made friends from all over the world, and I live in Paris.

Of course, this is my own life recipe, and certainly not a one-size-fits-all plan. God may not send you to a foreign country in 2015. But for those of you who feel this holiday is no more than an ironic reminder that life never changes and you will be forever trapped in your present circumstances. I want to encourage you. I need to encourage you. I want to give you hope. I want to give you courage. Make the decision. Be brave. Stop thinking and start moving.

Look at that list of New Year's resolutions, and ask God, what if I really could do these? Then what? What if I could do more? You might be surprised. God is full of surprises. And a year from now you may look back and laugh at those silly goals you made. Go ahead and make your New Year extraordinary.

Is there something big you are believing for in 2015? Is there an impossible dream you wish you had the courage to go after? Leave a comment below, or if you'd rather, email me. I'd love to hear from you and pray with you. For now, I've got a plane to catch ;) Bonne Année, mes chéries.


  1. ruthie! you always say exactly what i need to hear. I love and miss you so much!

    Here's to kicking butt in 2015! pray for hope and courage and direction for me...i want to shake up my snowglobe.

  2. ALSO. you are completely gorgeous in this new photo! Those red lips are making me proud and warming my heart!