It’s customary in our culture to make New Year’s resolutions. In the past I have jumped on that band wagon. I have also fallen off that band wagon. And at times I have completely rejected the idea. Because let’s face it I almost always fail at my attempts to diet, exercise, get better at cleaning, wake up early or ... Gasp! Give up coffee!! Maybe you can relate?
So imagine my elation at the “One Word” trend that took place in the online blogging world several years back. I thought, “Hey! Yes! I can totally accomplish this! I can totally focus on one little word for a year. Easy peasy!”
I would set aside some time to pray and worship before January 1st to specifically ask God what word He wanted to give me. I would write down that word, usually try to figure out what it meant and then come back to it every so often throughout the year. This worked well for me.
Then I came across another trend (I was pretty active in the blogging community) of picking a verse for the year. Which was great too! I’d follow a similar pattern and ask God for verse.
So now I’m up to resolutions, (which eventually morphed into goals) one word and one verse. All of which needed to be ironed out before January 1st of course.
Now, a short story. The year 2016 happened to be a difficult one for me personally so near the end I needed big changes! There was another trend that had been floating around the online community that I followed. It was something called “power sheets”. It’s a terrific product created by a super talented and encouraging woman. And several other super talented encouraging woman were raving about using these power sheets on social media. So I, of course, needed to have these power sheets so that I could be successful like these other woman. I used some of my Christmas money (power sheets aren’t cheap), got the binder and went to town. I was going to start 2017 right!
Now don’t get me wrong, for some people, power sheets can be a very useful tool. Except for me, life happened. It was another difficult year with a painful number of changes and I did not keep up. I felt guilty for spending the money, guilty for struggling to come up with goals, guilty for falling behind. Goodness gracious! I was getting caught up in what everyone else was doing, and what I thought I was “supposed to do.” But none of that was what God had for me.
As it came near to the end of 2017 I felt the pressure to come up with goals or a word or a verse. But I felt God asking me to pause. In all honesty I was too tired not to. So I rested but still sought the Lord. At last, I didn’t feel pressure. I felt peace.
“Then we will no longer be like immature children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching.” Ephesians 4:14a (NLT)
At West Ridge, during the sermon on New Year’s Eve, Pastor John said something that stuck with me, “You don’t have to be like anybody else.” I believe he was referring to when you pray and his point was that your prayers don’t have to be perfect or sound like anyone else’s prayers. But that night as I thought about goals, AND my one little word, AND my verse, I felt God put on my heart, “You don’t have to be like anyone else.” I felt so much freedom in that. Even now writing about it, I get a little teary eyed as the freedom wells up in me! So I rested in that.
I still like the idea of goals and one little word or a verse but what I realized is it doesn’t have to look like somebody else’s. I could have no goals or carry goals over from the previous year. Even better I could have fun goals! I could keep the same word or verse if it hadn’t sunk in yet. I don’t have to feel pressure to ask for a new word! Or I could do nothing at all if I wanted. No goals, no word, no verse. I could just keep living my life. (But seriously what’s the fun in that?) The pressure was off and freedom took its place!
So here it is! (Because FUN!) My line up for 2018!
- Keep practicing hand lettering
- Learn to weave on a loom
- Make some pottery
- Always be (okay with being) myself!
I’m keeping the same verse because sometimes “a new thing” takes time...
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19 (NIV)
And last but not least, in faith, I chose the word “Redemption” because I’m believing God will redeem all of the things lost or stolen over the last two years. He’s in the business of restoration and I’m standing on His promise.
I’ll leave you with this verse:
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3 (NIV)
I pray, sweet sisters, that you can hear the voice of God over your life loud and clear! Above all the noise and chatter of the world. I pray you find rest, redemption, streams of abundance, creativity, peace, and the Joy of Christ over the next year (and every one after). I pray the pressure is off and that freedom has stepped in in its place. Amen!
Happy New Year!
With much Love,