Here we are at the end of 2018 and this is a year I won’t be incredibly sad to see go.
2018 was not a bad year, but it was a big ole’ roller-coaster and ….well, I hate roller-coasters (the real ones and the phrase we use to describe an inconsistent time with lots of UPS and DOWNS). This year has been full of some wonderful UPS (Luke’s brother getting married, my brother Clay graduating, Luke graduating Pharmacy School, lots of growth within friendships and sweet times of celebration for weddings and babies, embracing my love of singing again). … but also our fair share of DOWNS (my precious Nanny passing away, a lot of job-related stress for Luke, lots of little frustrations adding up to prevent us from buying a house this year, etc.).
I went into 2018 very deflated, did not set any goals because I didn’t want to fail and didn’t have my usual motivation. I just asked God to carry me. I learned this year that no matter how many times I strategize the perfect plan, if it isn’t God’s timing and I’m holding it tightly within my hands, it will fail. I’ve learned this lesson countless times before, but there are some things the Lord literally has to refine us in every single day. I’ve cried countless tears as a result of my need to feel in control. Hardly anything has gone my way. I probably have unrealistic expectations. Scratch that. I do have unrealistic expectations and they kick me in the tail and then I feel like the Lord is holding out on me. It has been such a sanctifying year but I fought it every step of the way and naturally, I want to do it ALL within my own strength.
So, this is where my 2019 frame of mind comes in – my two words for the year are SURRENDER & TRUST. I’ve never chosen words for the year, but I think these themes have been so present in my life that I am choosing to embrace them instead of run away from them, and I’ll figure out what that looks like along the way.
In 2019, I pray I can truly press into what it means to SURRENDER my plan and hold fast to the character of God. I pray I TRUST He is never holding out on me, but always refining me. 2018 was a year of “waiting well” in a lot of ways, I feel like the Lord definitely developed fruit in that area of our lives – we embraced where God had us in ministry and dug deep into new friendships but presently, I am losing steam. I want to allow the Lord to mold my plans to his and the HONOR him in the waiting – even as this season prolongs far longer than I would have anticipated.
I used to set goals so rigidly that I hesitated to set them for several years as I was learning to give myself grace. I feel a shift in my heart and have truly begun learning how to give myself grace, so I set these goals/hopes loosely and open handedly for the year ahead.
- A Quiet January – I am very “go, go, go” …and my soul is longing for some peace and quiet. January has sort of set itself up to be low stress. Most of our weekly after work commitments are on hold until late Jan or Feb and the only two big things on the calendar are coordinating one wedding and attending one wedding. I am setting a goal to NOT fill up the calendar as I tend to do when I see empty spaces. I pray January is a slow time for Luke and I to reconnect, prepare our hearts for the year ahead, and jump start a better health and wellness mindset. Because of the stress of the last year, our lifestyle and my waist line has suffered and it is time to reframe the way we approach food. Specifically, I am doing the FASTER WAY TO FAT LOSS from January-mid February and am nervous and excited to start prioritizing my health again.
- Stewarding my time during tax season well. February-April is tax season and I work a whole lot during this time. It is a fun fast paced couple of months, but very very exhausting. I am praying for endurance through this time of extra work and for the hustle of those months to not interfere with prioritizing what matters. Luke and I have already planned a little getaway for the first weekend in February to celebrate our 3rd anniversary and I want to plan a self-care day for my birthday at a spa.
- I want to develop a new rhythm with my time in God’s word and PRIORITIZE PRAYER. God has been growing me in my prayer life and this is my #1 goal for the new year – to be a woman of prayer who really means it when I say, “I’m praying for you.”
- Some of the best advice I received before getting married was to never stop being a student of your spouse. This is always a goal of mine – to truly never grow tired of LEARNING about Luke and loving him well in every season.
- Since moving back to Rock Hill in 2015, Luke and I have been in a long season of making this town our home and finding our people. It didn’t happen overnight, but like I’ve said throughout the year, 2018 was a sweet year of friendship. Instead of my focus being on making lots of new friends, which my personality LOVES to do, I want to in 2019 make more of an effort to dig DEEP into the friendships the Lord has blessed me with in this season and love my friends really WELL.
- Finally, my big personal growth goal for this year is to allow the Holy Spirit to really work on my heart in my sin struggle of criticism. I can be very critical – of myself, and of others. I am enneagram 1 and the enneagram has really given me language to put words to my struggle with criticism. It’s not like I go around pitching a fit about everything that’s wrong with myself and others, but imperfections or things that don’t rise to my level of expectation or my preferences JUMP out at me…and if I’m not careful, create a really unhealthy rhythm of discontentment and disappointment in my life. I can be quick to point out what is wrong with something without processing that it may not be wrong, it just isn’t what I would have done – but how prideful to think that my way is the only way of doing things? So…more to come on that!
My “big event” hopes and prayers for the year are: for Luke to find a W-2 job, for us to get a puppy (which we have put a deposit on and he/she should be born in June!!), and for us to buy a house!
My verse for the year is Galatians 2:19-21
ESV: 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness[c] were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.
MSG: 19-21 What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.