2018: The Year To…

It is January 5, 2018.

That feels strange to type.

As I write this, I am sitting at my dining room table, next to my diffuser, a snowy scene out the window. It is really stinking cold outside (6 degrees with a real feel of -18 degrees).

Today, I literally walked back and forth around my apartment and listened to the Bible App to get some steps in and catch up on my reading plan (I get motion sickness if I try to read and walk at the same time). I just don’t want to go outside. I’m conducting my first funeral service tomorrow and still have some prep to do on my message (Side note: This is also strange to type)…and I start a new class on Monday. It feels weird after taking a couple of months off.

A few days ago, I reflected on 2017. Today, we look ahead. Onward and upward, am I right?!

So, it’s 2018.

Ben and I are starting the year off feeling a bit more at home in our new city and we are making some plans and looking ahead to what God has in store.

Personally, I’m finally feeling like I am in a place to tackle some new challenges. I spent much of last year feeling hidden, stuck and a bit out of control. I am thankful for the growth that occurred but I spent a lot of time having doors slammed in my face (or at least it felt that way).

As I mentioned in my last post, something has shifted. I’m finally feeling God tell me to move. What does that means exactly? I’m not sure…. but I do know that our move and this new ministry position was part of it.

I go back and forth with New Year’s resolutions. Some years, I love them, others… I want nothing to do with them. This year, I’ve decided on a word for the year instead.

So, without further ado… My word for 2018 is Bloom…as in, bloom where I am planted.

I know that sounds like kind of a soft, flowery word (get it? ha!) but for me, it means to thrive, to grow and to push forward. It is getting back to the boldness that I haven’t felt in a long time.

Simply put, I’m tired of making excuses and I’m tired of apologizing. I’m tired of shrinking back. That’s not who God created me to be. This does NOT mean that I have to be the center of attention, and it doesn’t mean that I go into every situation with guns blazing, not by any means. I have learned to pick my battles (most of the time).

But it also means that I refuse to apologize for who I am. I refuse to “have to” explain or justify my decisions…and I refuse to apologize for being a woman called by God into ministry.

It’s not been easy to comes to grips with all of this. It’s been a very long and a very lonely road. But this time has also helped me figure out who my people are. It’s a short list but it’s solid.

If I have learned anything in the last year, it’s that I have to answer to God first. I’d love to say that I’ve always known this, but I think it needed to be reiterated (numerous times) over the last year. The thing is, if I feel the need to justify myself to someone, they probably aren’t going to change their mind, anyway…and that’s okay. It’s just not worth it. The people who really matter won’t need justification.

I learned this the hard way…and I spent a lot of time being offended and discouraged, but in the end, it’s made me more confident in who I am in Christ. That is what is really important. And as I continue to realize this, the less I feel the need to fight to prove myself. Instead, I’ve been okay to just… be.

And it means that I am finally ready to get back to what’s important… to blooming.

God has me here, in this exact place and at this exact time, for a reason. And I intend to use this time to do His work. To continue to grow and mature and to do something new for Him! I’m feeling that it’s time to get to work! I suspect the same can be said for each of us. At the end of the day, no matter what anyone else says, we matter and we have a purpose.

Paul lovingly writes to Timothy, in his second letter:

Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:6-7, NKJV).

By shrinking back and worrying about what other people think, we aren’t using our gifts. Further, we aren’t doing God’s work and we are doing the people around us a disservice. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to look back and realize that I missed out on an opportunity for fear of offending someone.

Now I know what you’re thinking… how can we love people if we end up offending them? But that’s just it! It’s high time that we speak truth and we fan into flame our gifts BECAUSE we love others! Again, it’s that idea of picking our battles. What are you wiling to let slide and what are you willing to fight for?

This doesn’t mean that we do more. And it doesn’t mean that we say more. It doesn’t even mean that we go full force into battle every day.

Instead, it means that we obey.

We choose to follow Christ. Every single day. One of my favorite quotes sums it up perfectly. “You go where you’re sent and you stay where you’re put and you give what you’ve got” (Jill Briscoe). And in doing that, God is going to work in us and through us. Even if we don’t see it right away. Even if we never see it…we choose to obey. We keep going and we follow through.

That is what Bloom means to me. It’s the follow through.

So, that’s what 2018 is-The year to bloom. What’s  in store remains to be seen…but I’m okay with that. The best is yet to come!

 

Let’s chat! What does “Bloom” mean to you? Do you have any big plans for 2018? Word of the Year or Resolutions? 

 

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