Sunday, January 1, 2017

on being simple...

For some, 2016 was an absolutely terrible year while for others, it was the greatest year of their lives. For me, 2016 wasn't the best and it wasn't the worst, it was kind of a filler year. But even filler years are used by God, in His goodness and sovereignty. I was involved in two car accidents, encountered the most sickness I have ever had in one year, went on my first date, travelled to Ecuador to visit one of my best friends, was the Maid of Honor for another one of my best friends, went through a small heartache and the loss of wants, and turned 27. It was definitely a weird year, but weird years are not wasted years, something I need to remember always. I praise God or the weird years, because He is faithful still to show up and lead us and love us through them. 
This past year I focused on the idea of cultivating, growing in my knowledge and experience of Christ. Looking back, this year was truly tilled and sifted by the Lord. In the beginning of the year, He wooed me with grape juice and crackers and gave me people to champion. The Lord taught me about His timing and and the contentment found in waiting; He taught me hope and grace. My heart learned the importance of prayer (REAL prayer) and about security and fear and redemption. In the Spring, I learned about patience and perseverance, about guards and walls. In the Fall, He taught me the true meaning of the Sabbath and that He is the standard of sweetness in life. I learned about the importance of community and made a Christmas card.

Looking forward, I am excited and expectant for what the Lord has laid on my heart. This year, Psalm 23 will be my anthem. For years I've been numb to this passage, but this year it will fall fresh and be manna to my weary heart; 2017 will be the year of simplicity, of bare bones (but not dry bones). It will be a year marked by softness and intentionality and quiet. And friends, simple does not mean easy. The more I dwell on this word, the more I realize how hard it will be. Simple means action. It means actively cutting out the extravagant and the unnecessary. Simple means being intentional. And, simple is not synonymous with boring (the hardest thing for my heart to understand). Life can be simple and quiet and FUN still. 
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Simple: not ornate or luxurious; modest; not complicated 
or complex; mere; bare; quiet.
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I want this year to be the year that I live with less. I want to live under my means. I want to eliminate debt from my life. I don't have much, but I still have it, and I am tired of budgeting around it. In order to kick this debt to the curb, it means I have to be very intentional with my "yes" and my "no". It means that I will be saying no to unnecessary Starbucks lattes, to the Target dollar section, to the cute dress that I "need", and to taking the long way home from church. And it's not just about money, it's about saying no to good things to make way for the great things. The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want... If 2017 is about living simply, then maybe 2018 can be about living generously. Not just in finances, but in time, in resources, in prayer, in love. 

My prayer is that God would give me a love and a contentment that I have never known before; I want to live simply, with Jesus and with people. I want to see the beauty in the small and the quiet, to live in the moments that God graces me with. Simple, quiet, stable.

Cheers to 2017, friends!
What are you focusing on this year?

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