As I sat here contemplating my year-end retrospective, I found myself vacillating between two perspectives. It has been a year of great change for me personally, and it's also been a fascinating year politically, and I've written from both perspectives throughout the year.
In the end, I decided to write from a personal perspective, because there will be plenty of time to be political in the weeks ahead. Besides, the start of a new year is a time of hope, and I want to illustrate through my own experiences that hope lives.
The year I've had personally is a textbook example of the wisdom of Proverbs 16:9, "In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps." When I started the year, I was planning my second run for public office, a task I anticipated would take up just about all my non-working hours. I had a plan that I thought would allow me to campaign vigorously, work for a living and still stay involved in my church and with my family.
Losing my job threw my entire plan into disarray, but looking back on what has happened since then, God's plan has worked out better for me than I could've imagined.
I finish the year not as a state senator-elect, but as a published author, a conservative commentator with a national profile, an entrepreneur that works from home, and the president of a great organization, Regular Folks United, dedicated to promoting individual liberty, free markets and other core American values.
Was it always easy? Absolutely not. Am I enjoying what I'm doing now more than what I was doing at the beginning of 2010? Without question!
I've been heartened by the warm reception my first book, SELLOUT: Musings from Uncle Tom's Porch, has received from people all over the country.
The book is a reflection of who I am as a person, and it's risky in today's world to be as transparent as I was. People have been very kind with their words, however, and many have felt moved to share the book with others and offer their own testimonies of how it changed their thinking or taught them something they didn't know before.
That's immensely gratifying, and it validates the path I've taken this year, in which I'm finally acknowledging that God made me to be a writer. A lot of friends have delivered that message to me this year, so I'm convinced that God is working through them and the book's success to light my way.
The year was capped off for me with my selection by readers of the web site Booker Rising as one of the Top 25 Bookeristas of 2010. A "Bookerista" is a black moderate or conservative who, to use the words of Shay Riley, the founder of Booker Rising, "promote self-help, education, enterprise, democracy, and society as the seeds for Black America's future" in the tradition of Booker T. Washington, the great American educator, author, orator and political leader.
It is a thrill to finish eleventh on this distinguished list, and to be named in the company of intellectual heavyweights like Dr. Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams, courageous community leaders and opinion shapers like Star Parker, and rising political stars like Tim Scott and Lt. Col. Allen West, the first black GOP congressmen since 2003, and the first from their respective states since Reconstruction.
As we ring out 2010 and prepare for 2011, I know many of you have had a difficult year. I have had many moments of despair myself, so I understand. I can only offer the two things that helped me get to a point where I can look back and say, "All is well."
Sometimes, we have to let go of the reins a little bit and see where God steers us. In the past, when calamity struck, I exerted a great deal of energy trying to fix things myself, and my "fix" often ended up putting me right back where I was before.
This time, I decided to heed the words of Moses, who said to the Lord in Exodus 33:15, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here."
I had to adopt a form of "active waiting", in which I did what I needed to do to stay afloat, but didn't try to force open and charge through doors that were slammed in my face and locked shut, simply because I thought it was where I was supposed to go or what "made sense."
Active waiting isn't easy, especially when those around you are anxious and hurting, but I would repeat in my mind the words of a favorite Christian song of mine, "A Different Road" by Kathy Troccoli:
So now I walk a different road,The other thing I did was focus all my energies on where I was at the moment, because it was there that I had the most power.
I wanna see Him there before I even go,
I've run ahead, and gone too slow,
I've got to be still, now,
And wait upon His will, now,
This time, it's gonna be His time.
I couldn't change anything that had already happened, so it did no good to revisit past mistakes or speculate on what I could have done to bring about a different outcome. You will destroy yourself from the inside if you do that.
I didn't spend a lot of time worrying about the future, either. That doesn't mean I didn't plan; planning is prudent. Worrying is useless, however, especially since we don't have a clue what is actually going to happen. Worry will also eat you alive inside. If the plan doesn't work, for whatever reason, make another plan and keep moving forward.
Whatever you do, be grateful to God that you are alive right here, right now, and that means you've still got a reason to be here. Yesterday is done and tomorrow's not here yet, but you've been given today, and that is a great gift from Him to you. Don't waste it with regret or worry.
Be safe during your New Year's Eve celebrations - and thank you for blessing me this year!
Ron Miller is a conservative writer and commentator, author of the book, SELLOUT: Musings from Uncle Toms Porch, and the president of Regular Folks United, a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of individual liberty, free markets and our nation's founding principles. The nine-year plus veteran of the U.S. Air Force and married father of three writes columns for several online sites and print publications, and his own website, TeamRonMiller.com. Join him on Facebook and Twitter.