NINE THINGS THAT I LEARNED IN 2017
1) SURRENDER – This year I learned what it truly means to surrender EVERYTHING for Christ. God led me to give up a lot of things that I love this year, but I love God so much more. I gave up my two precious kitties and my independence, but in turn inherited 2 amazing roommates and a loving pup. I also gave up financial stability in order to follow God’s call to Oklahoma. Through it all though I’ve learned that even though I love Virginia & all these other things, I love being obedient to God so much more.
2) FAILURE – From outside perspective, 2017 seemed like a year full of mistakes and failures. But what looked like failure after failure was actually all in God’s design. Each “failure” pointed me in a better direction. Each “mistake” taught me something. Every “wrong” choice strengthened my character. Ultimately, I don’t regret any misstep or struggle. I wouldn’t be where I am today if God hadn’t used those things to redirect me and build my resilience and character.
3) CALLING – Before this year, I didn’t realize that I had been following my own plans instead of seeking God for what His were for me. 2017 was the year that I surrendered my dreams, my goals, and my personal plans to the Lord, and strived to trust Him with it all. I gave up my idea of what being in your 30s would be like. I gave up my goals of leading worship and starting my own business and buying a home in Virginia, and God in turn breathed new life into me. He showed me that He has a different plan. This year He placed a new, deeper passion within my heart to lead people to become reconciled to God and to each other. I know that God will stop at NOTHING to fulfill this calling in my life — His calling!
4) LOVE – This year was TOUGH in the love department. 2017 was full of rejections. Rejections from jobs, failed small groups, roommates, and even some dear friends. Through all of this rejection I stayed steady at my Savior’s feet, and found restoration in His love. With every rejection, God drew nearer and never left my side. He encouraged me and breathed life into my soul. Through every circumstance where human loved seemed distant, God’s love remained relentless.
5) REST – Living in the DC area of Virginia really forces you to live this fast-paced life where you never really stop to even just take a breath. In 2017, I truly learned the importance of RESTING. Being still. Allowing God to restore and refresh my soul instead of turning to other people or other things for entertainment, advice, or even value. Through every setback that I faced this year, God pointed me to Himself and asked me to stop and find my rest in Him. I learned that God is more concerned with my character and my relationship with Him than He ever will be in how much I am doing or accomplishing!
6) FRIENDSHIPS – Every friendship that was launched or cultivated in 2017 had its purpose in my life. I’ve learned that some friendships exist to teach you something about yourself, while others challenge you to be the motivator or encourager. Even still, many friendships will last a lifetime and others will only last a season. But ALL friendships are equally as important to the story of your life that God is writing. ALL friendships are worth investing in and ALL friends deserve a chance to invest in YOU. I’m now surrounded by amazing leaders and coaches and friends that pour into my life in a way that absolutely OVERWHELMS me with God’s love daily.
7) COURAGE – Two years ago my word of the year was “courage.” I was coming out of a year of mistakes, and I was embarrassed and ashamed. But God challenged me to be COURAGEOUS and in that, I learned to run forward, straight towards every single fear. My word for 2017 was actually two words — “Do It.” I felt like I had gained the courage to let God restore my heart and reconcile myself to Him, but this was the year where I would begin to ACT on that courage. I didn’t realize that this increasing courage over the past two years would lead me tomake the MOST COURAGEOUS decision ever— to leave everything behind and follow God’s call to Oklahoma.
8) CONTENTMENT – This year I’ve had so many people inquire to me about my ability to be so content in my singleness as a 31 year old. One friend mentioned recently, “I never hear or see you striving for a marriage.” How did I get here? I found contentment in my singleness through my journey learning numbers 1-7. It started in 2016 as I learned to surrender. Then through the failure, God revealed His calling, which led to love, resting in Him, and deeper friendships. But it takes courage to truly find contentment. Every single day we must have the courage to believe God’s promises for our future and not give into the status quo that the world throws at us. This is choosing to have faith in God’s plan. I am able to rest in the fact that my future husband, family, and ministry are much more important than my current cravings and desires. I’ve watched God fulfill so many desires of my heart this year, so I know without a shadow of a doubt that He won’t leave my desire for marriage out.
9) IDENTITY – I think the most important lesson of all that I learned this year is WHO I AM, and who HE SAYS I AM. We must choose to listen to the voice of God over all of the other ones. When God tells me I am beautiful, I don’t argue anymore, I listen and believe Him. When He says that I am intelligent, and that I have so much wisdom to offer this world, I stand in that Truth and refuse to talk down to myself. This year I’ve learned to listen to what God is speaking to my heart, and to internalize it, believe it, and stand firm in it when I want to believe otherwise. The world will continue to shout lies at me, but if I know who I am in Christ, I cannot be shaken. I am His daughter. I am beloved, wise, called, and equipped. If I know who I am and what He has called me to do, I have no reason to be afraid.
SO, THIS ALL LEADS ME TO JANUARY 1, 2018. Today. Right now. What is God hoping I’ll learn in 2018? My only hint into what this year is going to be like, is the word God led me to for the year: OBEDIENT. I want to be so sensitive to the Holy Spirit this year. I want my ears to be so open to His voice at every moment. And when He speaks, I want to listen and to act and to OBEY, without even thinking or hesitating for a moment. RELENTLESS & RECKLESS OBEDIENCE. That’s my 2018. What’s yours?