After closing out 2015, I knew things could only go up. All I can say is that was one rough year. But the best part about New Year's is that can all be washed away at the strike of midnight. Is the past year really washed away? no. But for me and this crazy brain of mine, it feels that way. I knew something had to give in 2016. And it did.
2016 held some great memories but even more so lasting lessons from God. And for those I am forever grateful to 2016. I faced some fears. I went D E E P E R. My word for 2016 was deepen. God did so much in my life. In going deeper with God, I learned so much about Him, about myself, about others, and about life. Between friendships, work, seminary classes, ministry, and me, God deepened areas and my heart in ways I never imagined.
The blog was kind of quiet this year, because those deeper moments were things that God impressed on me were intended to be deep for a reason. Moments between me and him. I some times wanted to share those things and realized that God meant those for me. Almost like love notes just for me. At the end of 2016, I feel God's love deeper than I ever have before. Praise God I was able to reach the goals I set for 2016 through Him and Him alone. I could go on for days about the ups and downs of 2016 but I'll sum it up with a few lessons I learned this past year:
L E S S O N S F R O M 2 0 1 6:
1. Misplaced expectations will only lessen my joy and lead to disappointment. Appropriately-placed (on God) and Biblical expectations enable me to live my life full of joy, hope, contentment, and peace in the present. God is prepared for my expectations. I can expect Him to fulfill His promises. I can expect Him to love and accept me. I can expect Him to provide for me. I can expect Him to carry me through. I can expect Him to give me good gifts. I can expect Him to come through.
2. Saying N O is the most valuable tool I have. And I have to say it if I want to maintain sanity and keep God at the forefront of my life. I cannot and will not be all things to all people. So saying Y E S to everything was only killing me and stealing my joy. God gets my Y E S and I must follow Him from there not the world.
3. Insecurities have no place in my relationships, conversations, etc. If I let insecurities dictate my response, I will not be liked nor will I be able to go deeper with people. Insecurities sabotage everything. Identifying when I'm being motivated from insecurities or when I'm seeing things from God's perspective is something that will continue on as a work in progress for a long time to come. But I'm thankful that I know now that this a default for me.
4. Letting go of control, trusting God to provide, finding beauty and redemption in the waiting. All things God continues to teach me more and more each year.
Now I allow 2016 to sink in as part of my story and look ahead to 2017 and all that I know God has in store. A new year has so much potential. So many unwritten moments. Two days in and I must admit that it already feels like a roller coaster. Sometimes I don't know whether to laugh or cry. To be honest, I've already done a little of both. I expect God to do great things this year in and through me.
G O A L S F O R 2 0 1 7:
1. Seek financial peace.
Confession: I stink at being a good steward of the money that I only have because God has given me. It's a struggle. I know something has to change, and this year I commit to start small. Hold myself accountable for 31 days. I'm not gonna fix everything in one day or one month. But I'm gonna take one day at a time. I pray God teaches me responsibility with the resources He has given me.
2. Be healthy.
Another confession: I stink at keeping my body healthy and finding a balance between glorifying God in what I put in my body and not follow legalistic rules that are unattainable for me. For whatever reason, this has been and always will be a thorn in my flesh. Something I have to surrender to the Lord on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis. This year I just need to get my mind and body back on the same track. Taking those same little steps to trust the Lord even in this thorn.
3. Be intentional with social media.
I love social media for its wide reaching capabilities. I love that I can share anything at any time. But I want what I share to matter. I want what I share to impact people. But I only want what God wants. I want to be intentional with what I'm sharing but also seek the Lord for inspiration and not just what I want to say. I want to allow God to speak through me.
4. Enjoy reading.
I want to read more in 2017. I want to read through the Bible chronologically again, because I love to see the big picture of the Bible with all the glorious small details in the order it happened. But I also want to read more for fun and for spiritual growth. I think reading other people's stories/journeys/experiences can allow me to see things in different perspectives. I want take this year to really dig into the Word and intentionally grow in my relationship with God.
5. Cling to God in good times.
On New Year's Eve, I realized that my heart is so fickle. I saw that I was in desperate need of Jesus because in the midst of good times, I had slacked off in my quiet times. I have had so many hard moments and scary times that I seek the Lord with abandon, but then things start to look up and the sun is shining. And I stop seeing my desperate need for Jesus and His Word. This has to change. I want to be hungry for the Word in the G O O D and the B A D. And just as much in the G O O D as the B A D.
I know these won't happen over night. I know these are gonna be hard. I know that I may not even reach all these goals, but I love a challenge. I always have. I love to feel this pressing in to God and trusting that He's gonna show up and show out.
As I've done for the last couple years, I chose a word for 2 0 1 7:
F U L F I L L E D.
You'll have to stay tuned for another blog post on how I came to this word and what God has laid on my heart for this new year. I'm so excited to see where God leads.