So, new year's resolutions?
Yeah, I'm not super big into them. Say what you want, but a few years ago I got way too sick of time and time again writing down things I wanted to accomplish at the beginning of the year, and then sadly reflecting at the end of the year on all the things I had fizzled out on. I realized that my new year should not be about me and what I think I can accomplish in my own strength, but that it should be about what God has in store, and what I'm believing for HIM to accomplish in me and THROUGH me as I continue on this amazing journey and this gift called Life.
And boy, let me tell you how freeing and amazing it has been!
So last year, January 2nd, I sat myself down and wrote in my journal (like I always do), and I penned some expectations I had for 2015, for God to work in me.
"'5' represents Grace. '15' represents rest after deliverance (14). 2014 was a year of deliverance, for me and my friends. I am using this journal to remind myself what this year should be about- 'His GRACE is sufficient for me.' I can rest in God's goodness, so long as I do my part.
God, what do you want me to do this year? Help me get in position so I can carry out all you've asked me to do. Lord, where should I be?"
"2015 will be a year of rest. Of health. Of slowing down to allow time for God to speak to me."
"I am excited for my love for Michael to grow deeper. For us to pray together more. For us to pursue our personal relationships with God, and by doing so, grow closer together."
"This year, I want to surrender all my securities- in social media, in my perfect health, in Mike- to God, and let HIM take care of me"
"This year, I want to learn to be quiet, still, and confident in God, and rest in all that he is. I AM NOT IN CONTROL"
"I want to keeps God's word in my heart so I can keep fear at bay."
"Here's to a year of new doors and opportunities, a year of exploration and appreciation, a year of challenges and overcoming, a year of deep love and understanding."
Now, I'm not saying there weren't things I wish I could have done better. Believe me, there were. I know at the end of 2015, I really sucked at resting. I stopped going to the gym and watched my strong body grow weaker. I read my Bible less, and scrolled on my phone more. But you know what?
I do not feel like a failure. I do not feel how I have so often felt at the end of the year- deflated that I wasn't "strong" enough or "didn't have enough willpower" to complete the list of resolutions I had outlined for myself. No; instead, I see all that God worked out for me and in me, and I am rejoicing and soaring with hope for this next year because I know no matter how many times I fail, God is faithful to sustain me and to be my strength in my weakness.
2015 WAS a year I learned to be quiet, and still, and confident in God. And I did learn to rest in all his goodness and grace. Sure, there were times I did it better than others, but boy, did I grow from 2014.
In 2015, I went from beginning the year as a life-long hypochondriac CONVINCED I had lymphoma, to now where I am currently 5 months free of worry or irrational anxiety about my health. I can say with confidence I have been cured of that disease.
In 2015, I worked out more than I ever have in the past 6 years. I went to physical therapy, I went to the gym, I ate healthier, I grew strong. And while I slacked off at the end of the year, I am confident I can always go back to that state, because I DID IT BEFORE; I sure as heck can do it again.
In 2015, My love for Michael grew so much deeper than I thought possible. We are engaged, getting ready to start our pre-marital counseling before we exchange our vows, and I can say with confidence there is no one else I would rather spend my life with. We faced more dynamic challenges this past year than we ever had in our 2 1/2 years of dating, and with each obstacle, whether it was big or small, I just realized how much more I loved him for everything that he is.
In 2015, I read my Bible cover to cover, and took in every word. I memorized verses and kept them close to my heart, and used them whenever I was feeling discouraged or let down.
In 2015, I quit a job I had loved for 2 years and took the biggest leap of faith I have ever made in my life- I became a full time photographer, fully trusting in God for Him to provide for me each month. No guaranteed paychecks- just pure trust.
And I sit here tonight writing this to remind myself of what a spectacular year 2015 was. It truly was a year full of new doors and new opportunities. Of drastically changing seasons- moving out and living on my own, quitting my steady job, getting engaged, planning a wedding, starting my business, going after my passions, growing in my service and trade, making new connections, and growing in faith.
And I sit here tonight to also remind anyone who might come across this and take the time to read it, that you are not a failure just because you don't perfectly complete every task you set out to do. No, quite the opposite- you are a success because you went out and you TRIED. And maybe this next year, you will try harder and come a little farther. But I hope you set expectations, and give yourself some grace and leeway to make mistakes. And if you're a believer like me, that you let God take the steering wheel this year, because no matter how many times you might fail; he never does.
With all that being said, I thought I might also share some expectations I have for 2016.
-To spend less time working, and more time unplugged.
-To stay healthy; spiritually, mentally, and physically
-For God to provide Mike and I with enough to take care of us, and to bless others.
-For God to grow my business and take me to new levels of success, so long as I trust him.
-For more laughter
-For fresh ideas and creativity
-Miracles and breakthrough, in all areas that will need it
-For Mike and I's relationship with God to go to new, even deeper levels
-For us to continue to pray together even more, as a married couple. As a family.
-To start and end each day with GOD FIRST.
-To be the best wife I can be, to take care of my husband and support him.
-For God to help me think of others, and their needs before mine. Selflessness.
-To be more generous
-To have even greater faith, to trust God as Mike and I start a life of our own.
-Above all else, to love more. I think it's so fitting that I will be marrying the man of my dreams this year- "16" in the Bible is symbolic of love and loving. 16 of God's names/titles signify his constant, never-ending love for his children. This past year, I think I struggled the most with loving deeper. I am expecting for God to open every door that he can to help grow me in this area, and that when I look back at this post in 2017, I will be able to say confidently that God softened my heart and gave me the means to love deeper, harder, truer, and stronger than ever before.
Here's to 2016. The year of love.