I've been slowly working my way through Lara Casey's 2017 Goal-Setting series, taking my time and doing quite a bit of reflecting on 2016 as I look ahead to 2017. 2016 was really one of those years that grew my faith in some pretty big ways. It's amazing to me to read my goal-setting posts from last year and then look back on the year and see all God has done. When I began setting goals for 2016, I wrote this: "This new year is much more of a blank slate than usual for me. I am starting 2016 from a posture of standing before God, open to where He might lead me and what dreams He might write into my heart."
And in that openness and trust and surrender, God definitely worked in some pretty incredible ways...
HERE'S WHAT I AM CELEBRATING ABOUT 2016:
- Moving to a new home (and filling it with art and truth and inspiration — and painting one wall blush pink!)
- Reading great books that challenged and grew my faith (like I Don’t Wait Anymore by Grace Thornton)
- My church family/community moving into a permanent building (after years of praying for a space)
- Meeting Tim and falling in love (so much gratitude for this one…)
- All of the incredible memories made with Tim these last seven months and all the ways we are growing together and building a Christ-centered relationship
- Building a stronger, closer relationship with my sister and sharing lots of fun memories together this year… like our adventure of driving to West Virginia for the Fiestaware tent sale and celebrating the Gilmore Girls revival with two fabulous parties
- All things Gilmore Girls (Luke’s Coffee Day with friends, Gilmore Girls revival parties…)
- My B&B weekend away with my mom (such an inspiring and renewing time!)
- Taking a summer staycation and the renewal and rest that brought
- Moving into my company’s brand-new headquarters (such a colorful and inspiring place to work!)
AND HERE ARE A FEW LESSONS I'VE LEARNED IN 2016:
- His ways are ALWAYS greater than my own
- When we truly surrender and invite Him to have His way, He does more than we could ask or imagine; His plan is truly perfect
- Try less; trust more
- I need and want to prioritize time with Jesus each day
- Worry is fruitless (this one shows up year after year)
- God’s word and truth CHANGES things; I want to know and seek Him more fully
- The really good stuff is most often accomplished little by little, with slow, steady steps
- Investing in relationships is such meaningful and worthwhile work
- I want to become a good steward of all God’s gifts, blessings, and resources that He so graciously gives…I want to use my margin to the fullest for Him
And now I want to share a little excerpt from my goal-setting posts last year, because I am so encouraged to see all the ways He moved in 2016...all the ways He showed up when I truly surrendered and stopped chasing other things. I could never have imagined what 2016 would hold from where I stood last year, at the end of 2015…BUT GOD...
Written on the morning of December 28, 2015:
I started getting messy with my Powersheets yesterday, reflecting on the previous year and all the ways I've grown and changed. I've been using this as a time to re-calibrate and renew my heart as I move toward 2016.
Then, this morning, coffee cup in hand and powersheets spread out messily next to me, I checked in on part one of Lara Casey's 2016 Goal Setting series. I LOVE her encouragement to be in the mess of this process, to be FULLY where you are.
One of the questions she asked this year is what have you been chasing...
And I think the thing I have been chasing most is a relationship. That’s hard to write and admit sometimes, but it’s true. I have prayed and prayed for a Godly relationship that would lead to a Godly marriage. But for His own reasons and purposes, God has chosen for me to remain in singleness.
As I sat in the doubt and questioning of that this year, one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that there is power in TRYING LESS and TRUSTING MORE.
I cannot change my singleness (at least not if I want God’s best for me), and when I try to control things in my life — especially that — I find that I feel both discouraged and discontent. I want to chase after HIM instead, choosing Him above all other things and accepting His gifts to me with gratitude and great joy — even this season of singleness.
As I continue to get quiet and reflect on 2015, I find that my life needs a bit of pruning and weeding as I prep for the new year — getting rid of distractions, clutter, doubt, etc. to make space and room for fresh inspiration, direction, adventure, and HOPE! :)
* * *
When I stopped chasing and striving, and let Him have His way, things happened that I could not have ever imagined…or ever made happen on my own…like meeting Tim and falling in love and being in the midst of building this amazing Christ-centered relationship together.
BUT GOD. His plan is truly always greater than mine. And that makes me so excited for 2017.
I'll be back tomorrow with the next step of the goal-setting series. :)