2018 – Best Year Ever

, ,

As 2017 dawned I was caught in a place between excitement for another new year (my sunny disposition can’t resist that each year) and massive frustration at feeling I was living my life way beneath my potential.

I almost never feel settled in, but I was discontent in a whole new way. I wondered if I was just being irresponsible, lazy and disobedient to a God that has given me more than I could ever ask or think.

And I was turning into a major buzzkill at work and at home.

But on January 8, 2017, Christ Fellowship Senior Pastor Todd Mullins shared from Isaiah 54:2 as part of a series called “Wide Open.”

In this verse, God is calling the nation of Israel to prepare for an influx of more people and to move beyond existing borders. In order to do that, they would have to prepare themselves for this increase.

The tent was a well-understood symbol of their nomadic life in the wilderness.

Not only would they have to make their tent bigger, but all the supporting mechanisms — the cords and the pegs driven into the ground — would have to be stretched longer and driven deeper.

Pastor Todd challenged us to enlarge our perspective of God and ourselves.

And most importantly, to embrace the stretch.

In order to do what God has called us to do, we have to get bigger and be flexible so we can be in place for God to use us.

In order to get bigger and more flexible, you have to be different and committed. You must act with urgency, and be ready to leave the field you’re familiar with and walk in to your future.

It was time, he said, to walk in boldness and enthusiasm.

For whatever reason, sitting there, I felt a shift inside me.

  • I don’t like to be different. It’s scary and weird.
  • I don’t like to stretch. I like to keep just what I need at arm’s length.
  • I don’t like to be bigger. I like to hide behind and support big people.
  • I’m not bold. I like to play it safe so I can control the outcome.

I realized I was the sole reason for my discontent.

God had given me the raw material 47 years ago. I had chosen not to use it in an intentional way. I had been keeping my cords short and my pegs dangerously shallow.

So I made a simple decision that day to simply dig deep and be bold.

Even if it’s scary or weird. Even if it’s uncomfortable. Even if it puts me out there all by myself. Even (and maybe, especially) if it doesn’t make sense.

I wasn’t fulfilling my call by playing it safe.

Game over, girlfriend.

After the service that morning, we went out to a burlap tent drape that was set up in the hallway, where we could write a promise to ourselves for 2017. This is what I wrote:

 

 

I think I was pretty bold. Let’s review:

  • I left a 20-year career in marketing and communications and began full-time life as a fee-for-service therapist (see also: non-salaried).
  • I stepped up into more visible leadership roles at church to serve an awesome church family.
  • I put my face out there online to share my expertise (it’s terrifying every time).

These may not sound bold to you, but each of these hit on key areas where I felt pretty safe, comfortable and in the shadows.

Move forward and take action

This is the biggest nut to crack in my work with clients.

If things change, it’s not because we talked about it in session.

It’s not because we changed other people (but if you can do that, I totally want in on your mojo).

And it’s certainly not because things “just worked out.”

Real change happens because we simply choose to take bold actions that put us out there, and believe that God will honor that boldness:

  • To set boundaries on those who hurt us repeatedly.
  • To leave situations that are not healthy or promoting growth
  • To take simple actions every day that will help us improve our mood or help us function just a little bit better.
  • To intentionally seek connection with others who will hold us accountable and bolster us through the difficult times (yes, connection is a choice).

An intentional year

So in 2018 I’m building on that boldness by pursuing intention, in all things:

  • In my relationship with God
  • In my relationships with those who matter most to me
  • In my professional competence
  • In my attitude and outlook
  • In using the mashup of skills I’ve been given to make a difference for others

These are all choices, and totally in my court.

I want 2018 to be the best year I’ve ever had.

What bold and intentional moves will you make in 2018?