Hello 2020.

Can you believe that it’s a new year and a new decade? Hello 2020.

I’ve never been the kind of person who chooses a “word for the year.” However, last year, through conversations, through my prayer time, through my writing, there was a constant word that kept coming up over and over again. Be still. God kept drawing me to stillness, His stillness. I wouldn’t consider myself a workaholic, but I have a really hard time with resting. If I am not working, my mind is still working, fueled with ideas and projects and to-do lists I need to get done. Somewhere between getting my Bachelor’s Degree and landing my first post-grad job, I became restless, which is a word to describe the fact that I have a really hard time with sitting still. Even the simple act of reading a fiction book became difficult, because I felt guilty for taking time to myself. And, hey, reading non-fiction was contributing to my life in some positive way, whether it was for ministry leadership, personal development, or my own health, so no guilt there.

And, somewhere between life’s demands, balancing my own business and my career, being involved in several ministries, and being quick to fill up my calendar every single weekend, I grew weary. I was trying to do everything and I was trying to do it all on my own, but what I quickly realized is that sooner or later, you will burn out. The fuel will come up empty and you’ll be in the middle of the desert, parched and desperate for help.  At the beginning of the year, God really nudged me in the gut. In my book, Through the Morning Fog, I shared a little bit about this, “When I first stepped into leadership, I became so burnt out and so frustrated when it seemed that all my efforts were getting nowhere. I t took a hard fall for me to realize that I was relying on my own strength and trying to do things my own way. God gently asked me, “Did you ever seek me on that decision?” I quickly realized that I was making decisions and judgments based on what I thought was best. I was trying to prove myself, rather than letting Him prove Himself to me. I was allowing my own human gifts to become a substitute for the power and direction of His Spirit. And, let me tell you. There is no substitute for God’s Holy Spirit. If you try to do things by your own strength ,no matter how talented and gifted you are, you’ll miss the true heartbeat of God. Scripture tells us in Matthew 6 to seek first the Kingdom. We must seek God through daily devotion. Without a personal relationship with God, we will not grow into what He wants us to be, but into the image that we think is best for our lives. That is a dangerous place to be. When we begin to rely on our own giftings and think that it is by our own effort that we will see the fruit of our labor, we better check our heart pulse, because it might very well be that our hearts are beating with pride. Through different circumstances in my own life, I have seen how pride has always gotten in the way of what God wants to do. But, thank goodness for His loving discipline and correction. The process of sanctification helped remove pride in my own life so that I could be His pride.”

In the past year, I learned how inadequate and how in-sufficient I am to do this life on my own. Too many times, I was trying to lean on my own strength. I tried to take matters into my own hands, holding tightly to this little word called control. But, 2019 was the year of letting go. It was the year of realizing that it is by God’s strength, and not my own abilities, that His will shall come to pass. I believe that a life of humility is a leader’s greatest strength. It was when I learned to be still that I truly learned this to be true and discovered the rest that my soul was so thirsty for. As I ended out 2019, I could not get away from the word abide. I studied, learned, and taught on this word. In a world that is so fast paced and filled with distractions and demands, to abide, to just sit still, to remain steadfast and rest in God’s presence is such a beautiful and powerful word. It is through this act that we see the fruit of our labor. By setting our eyes on Him, by resting in Him, by seeking Him, we are led by His strength and given the direction we need not for tomorrow, but for today.

Kingdom Culture sang it best in their song, Abide:
Teach me to abide in You
To hear Your voice all around me
Your voice all around me
I wanna be next to You
I wanna be one with Your spirit
Teach me to abide in You
To hear Your voice all around me
Your voice all around me
There’s no striving, just abiding
There’s no striving; in You

I want Your heart in my life
I want Your ways, Jesus
I want to abide in You
So I won’t worry about the coming days
I’ll keep my eyes focused on You

So, as I was thinking and praying about this upcoming year, the word that kept coming to mind was this: Slow down. Similar to abide, I’m learning to slow down, to take a sabbatical every once in awhile, to practice more self care, to lead by His strength, to be prayerful about the beautiful gift of today, and to come before Him with open servant hands. Rather than being quick to fill up my calendar, I’m learning that a day alone is not so much as a bad thing and that resting is really beneficial to our emotional, physical and spiritual health. I’m looking forward to the incredible things that God has in store for my community, my local church, our youth and young adults, my friends and family’s lives, and in my own, as well. But, it starts by slowing down, by seeking God’s heartbeat, and taking the next step by fully trusting Him.

I know that this year will bring its own challenges, but I also know that it will be year of beautiful growth and new beginnings as I make room for Yahweh to pave the way.


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