I have never really been into birthdays. One day is always enough to celebrate for me and parties are optional. (obviously I never turn down cake though). But this birthday felt…different. My cousin told me to take time to really reflect over what last year was. So I did. And to be honest, once I started, the tears began to flow. #somanytears. I thought that I would share some things I learned in year 26:
1. Start before youre ready
* I started the Faith Feast in July of 2016. Only 6 months after being baptized and truly surrendering my life to Christ. I felt (and will always feel) unqualified, unprepared and terrified. The night before I launched the blog, I told God “Nevermind. I wasn’t ready” But the urge to press forward was more than I could ignore. And with each success, failure, testimony and trial- God has gotten the Glory. I didn’t need to be “ready” to do what He was asking me to do. I just needed to be WILLING.
2. Risk failing
* I prefer to reach for the bar I know I can grab. I opted out of trying other sports in high school because I had found the one I excelled at. If it is not a surefire, win- I probably won’t go for it. But this year I have been pushed out of my comfort beyond my wildest imagination. I have felt at every turn that failure would be the surest result and it would take me out. But with each big and little risk, I seem to only find more of God. More of His grace and more of His strength. If we stay where it is safe, we never quite get to see what God can really do. You may fail, but even that He works out for our Good. Stepping out of the boat is absolutely terrifying but He never lets us drown.
3. USE discernment
* On a tougher note, this year was a series of discernment tests. I spent the majority of the year praying for discernment but never quite implementing it. I had gut feelings about people and things and projects that I chose not to do anything about. I waited around to see if I was right…I WAS. God doesn’t just bless us with the gift of discernment so we can KNOW better. He gives it to us so we can DO BETTER. Trust the Holy spirit inside of you. I have learned to heed the little voice inside even when you don’t always have the proof to back it up. It is speaking to save us protect us and direct us. Don’t ignore it.
4. Separate before severing
* One area of discernment the Lord was nudging me in was my relationships. He was calling me to take certain steps back from people, likely to create space for Him to work in both parties. But I clung. I didn’t sepearate when I was instructed to do so and I learned the hard way that: When we don’t separate, God SEVERS. He has a plan, a mission, and a kingdom to manage and He won’t be held up by our disobedience. So if He has called something out as “not for this season”, we HAVE to listen. Because separation looks a lot like handing over your carkeys to your mom where severing looks like a totaled car you can never drive again. One hurts temporarily, one has the potential to create lasting damage. God will do what He has to do to get us to where He needs us to go. Don’t let what should have been a simple separation turn into a severing.
* In these last few weeks of being 26 I have been sitting with this word: Evolve. And I can feel the spirit saying to me “Don’t be afraid to evolve”. What does that mean? For me, I think it means it is okay to explore new interests, try new things, adjust your style and outgrow some people. It means not shrinking back as I step into new roles and new opportunities. It means letting the seeds God sowed into me to bear big beautiful fruit- maybe not the fruit of previous seasons but an even better, more robust harvest. Becoming is a beautiful mystery if we have the courage to engage. Evolving takes faith- it is not an easy process. But the results are always amazing.
26 was a year beyond my wildest dreams. Challenging in more ways than I care to recount but beautiful in the most epic and ordinary of ways. My request for you is that you would pray for me as I enter into 27 boldly and confidently. Prayers for humility, grace, wisdom, discernment, abundance, joy and peace. Prayers that I would stay rooted in Christ and stay in the lane He has called me into. Prayers for whatever you feel in your heart to pray for me. Grateful for you and cannot wait to see what God does in this next year.