I’ve never really been one for making New Year’s resolutions. I know me, and the whole “New Year, New You” thing is not going to be enough motivation to help me change anything about myself that my head and heart aren’t ready for…no matter what day of the year it is.
Back when I was a smoker, I was always sure to carry an extra pack of cigarettes with me during the first two weeks of the new year. Every year, about 80% of my smoking friends would determine that “This is the year!” they were going to quit smoking. One by one, they would come to me and ask to bum a smoke. I was happy to oblige.
We do things when we are ready.
I am happy to say that I did quit smoking when I was ready…it was in 2003, during the month of May.
I’ve also never been a fan of vision boards (different from a battle board). I get why they are awesome and important, but never really liked making them. When you deal with a chronic illness, it can feel daunting to have big dreams and goals. You never know when your body is going to pull the rug out from under you. And a vision board is another reminder of just how broken you are. After awhile, the broken dreams that have piled up, year after year, become too much for your heart to bear…and you just stop dreaming.
And that, too, is a heartbreaking place…especially for someone who is a natural dreamer and visionary.
Our ability to dream big dreams, and to envision amazing things, are gifts from God. He planted those dreams and visions in us…because He has a redemptive story to tell, and we have a very unique role – a role that no one else can play – in His story.
2018 has been a year full of really high highs – and really low lows. I spent a good portion of the year dealing with illness…but also experienced healing and deliverance. Relationships that I thought were pretty solid, crumbled…while others were restored and renewed. I let go of some old things and embraced some new. I failed miserably in some areas, but also accomplished some really cool things (like graduating my oldest after homeschooling him for seven years).
As I look back, over the last year especially, I see God’s hand – in both the highs, and the lows. As I have continued to grow closer to Him, He has continued to reveal His character to me. As I have sought to discover who He is, He has shown me who I am, in Christ. In the best of times, and in the worst of circumstances, He is still my God and I am His precious child, in whom He delights. I KNOW who I am!
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13
As I was spending time in prayer, a few days ago, I was given a word in my spirit. The word was “intentionality.” Without stopping to (over) analyze the word, I began writing down all the things I felt the Lord wanted me to be intentional about. Within ten minutes, I had written down many things that I had actually been in prayer about over the last year.
Some of it is new and exciting (and kind of scary)! And some are areas where He would like for me to remember to practice what I preach. What is interesting about my new board is that it isn’t JUST a vision board…but also a battle board. It’s not just things that I want to learn and accomplish, but it also includes process and battle.
~God gives us vision…and then He goes before us.
~There is always a time of preparation for what He has for us. This is a time for us to grow and mature so that we are able to accomplish what He has for us without it destroying us. This usually feels like a painful time of waiting…but there IS purpose to it. And He is always in the process with us.
~There will be battle. The enemy will oppose God’s plan for us…but God has given us the weapons and authority to face the enemy, head on. We learn how to use our weapons, and walk in our God-given authority, during the process.
I have a feeling I will be talking more about process in the coming year…
Creating this board was a pretty big moment for me. I assembled it quickly, amidst both joy and tears. It’s been so long since I have truly allowed myself to dream or have any kind of vision. But I don’t want to be dreamless, anymore. So, I begin with one shaky step forward…trusting that no matter what lies ahead, God has already gone before me. He continues to help me grow and mature in preparation for all that He calls me to. And He has shown me how to wield the weapons that He has provided. If I stumble or fall, He’ll be there to pick me up…and when victory comes, I will give Him the glory.
Beloved, don’t be afraid to dream…no matter what circumstances you may find yourself in. God is the Giver of dreams and He loves to watch His children walk out ALL that He has for them.
And if you’re in the process – still waiting for your dream to come true – don’t lose heart or feel like it’s over. God is always working. He has not abandoned you nor forsaken you. He is faithful to complete what He has begun, in you. (I write this for me, as much as I write it for you.)
Blessings to you in the new year!